Bus drivers in short supply

SHADYSIDE – The Shadyside Local School District is in need of a bus driver.

Even though there are only five routes, the transportation department is still understaffed. Superintendent John Haswell says that due to the shortage, he and Athletic Director John Triveri obtained commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) so they can work as substitue drivers when necessary.

Though Haswell has posted an advertisement seeking a permanent driver, he has only received one inquiry and is not sure why the position is difficult to fill.

“Everybody’s struggling,”, he said, referring to the widespread need for bus drivers throughout many local districts. Haswell also speculated that perhaps people with CDLs are more likely to work for the oil and gas industry, where employers can afford to pay higher salaries.

Triveri stated that “over the summer we were anticipating an opening, and we were not able to fill it.”

This means that in the morning and afternoon no substitues are available, so if a driver is sick or unable to work, he or Haswell has to cover. Unfortunately this cuts into their other duties. Also, if an athletic trip needs to leave before drivers return from their routes, Triveri has to pick up the slack.

Harrison Hills City School District is also “running a little tight”, according to Director of Transportation Mark Kowalski. They also are looking for substitute drivers, and Kowalski agreed that the oil and gas industry may be taking away potential drivers.

Kowalski added that potential drivers need to be able to work with children, something some drivers may not be willing to do when they could drive solo with oil and gas companies.

Jason Clutter, Director of Transportation at Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools, says that “it seems like a daily that basis that we’re looking for drivers”. He added that this has been an ongoing problem for several years, and they never seem to have enough substitutes. Clutter suggests that people may be unwilling to take on the job because it requires a high level of responsibility.

Warner may be reached at mwarner@timesleaderonline.com