OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many students across Oklahoma are now back in school as of today, and several school districts throughout the area are still seeing a school bus driver shortage.
A headache for many parents and students, the shortage of bus drivers is leading to crowed buses and longer than usual rides to and from school.
Because of this shortage, it’s causing some transportation routes to change or take longer. An Edmond parent is now taking it upon their self to pick up their daughter from school, because they say their daughter wasn’t getting home until two hours after school let out.”
“Being virtual for two-and-a-half years, it was already a super major adjustment going back to school. So then also on top of that, getting home two hours after school was over, she was grumpy, tired, hungry, hot, you know, just all the bad things. But it’s a really bad combination,” said Layne Stansberry, Edmond school parent.
Layne Stansberry says having to leave during work and making the trip in and of itself is about a 45-minute process because the line to pick up students is long.
Stansberry also says once their daughter starts getting homework, it’s going to make it much more difficult to get it done if she gets home late.
In response to this problem, Susan Parks-Schlepp, director of communications at Edmond Public Schools, says, “Our bus drivers are working very hard to cover all routes, however, due to a well-documented school bus driver shortage, some routes are experiencing delays. As this is just the first full week of school, these delays should improve. All available transportation administrators are currently driving buses in an effort to help alleviate the problem.”
As for Oklahoma City Public Schools, they say for time purposes it would help if students were confident in knowing their address, school bus number and an emergency contact number; because that’s an issue they’re seeing, and it’s making the time to get home longer for some students.
“That’s best case scenario. It’s safer in a bus, creates less traffic at our schools. It makes everyone quicker and more efficient. It’s a great thing. But if you’re going to ride independently, we got to take that responsibility very seriously, and we got to make sure that we prepare our kids to be successful. We’ve got to go to the correct stop. So, we’ve got to be there on time. We understand our responsibility for that,” said Cody Stull, director of transportation at Oklahoma City Public Schools.
On day six into the school year, Stillwater Public Schools are seeing the same problem and have had to cancel three routes since school started because of the lack of school bus drivers.
“We’re still trying to maintain our routes every single day. It’s just sometimes a route may be canceled. We’ll try to give them notice the day before or, again, unfortunately, sometimes a situation arises and we have to notify them the day of,” said Barry Fuxa, public relations and communications coordinator at Stillwater Public Schools.
That’s not the only thing Stillwater Public Schools are lacking; they’re in need of substitute teachers, specifically special education teachers along with teacher assistants.