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Bus routes canceled due to driver shortage in Lebanon

lebanon school bus.jpg
Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 23:49:54-05

LEBANON — Some Lebanon Community School Corporation students had to find a different way to and from school this week after two routes were canceled due to a driver shortage.

"When we start getting last minute notices that this bus won't run or that one won't run ... that's kind of a big deal for parents," said Patrick Elmore, a parent.

Elmore says alternative transportation wasn't a problem for some families.

"But for other parents, that's not the case," said Elmore.

Superintendent Dr. Jon Milleman says with 3,400 students and 40 buses, the district needs more bus drivers.

There are three openings that the district is filling with its only three substitute drivers so when one calls out, there isn't a backup.

"We've had situations where we have split up routes, but it just isn't always possible," said Dr. Milleman.

He says when extra seats are available, other bus drivers will pick up the slack, but it results in children getting home later.

"In our last update provided to families, I tried to give them a heads up that we were going to reach this point as related to sub drivers encouraging them to plan ahead to the degree they could, utilize friends, neighbors as they could so some of those contingency plans were put in place. But you're right, it's easier said than done in some situations," said Dr. Milleman.

He says although it's been challenging, parents have been understanding.

A Lebanon High School mom told WRTV she believes it's a no win situation but says the school system is doing the best it can with the resources they have.

Elmore agrees.

"It's an understandable problem. I don't think it's anything unique or specific to the schools. [There are] lots of industries dealing with this exact issue but at the same time, it just seems like at this point in the game there could additional steps taken to help fill those roles more," said Elmore.

The superintendent says he appreciates parents' patience and new CDC guidance is helping alleviate some of the strain.

Bus drivers require a CDL license, which is part of the shortage problem.

The district says it's offering training and welcomes substitute bus drivers that want to join the Lebanon Community School District family.