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Local school district considers using teachers to fill bus driver shortage

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ARNOLD, Mo. – Some teachers in the FOX C-6 School District could be driving buses this school year after teaching classes all day.

The district is struggling to fill a bus driver shortage. Administrators decided to try a new strategy.

“In St. Louis, we are all looking for drivers for the same reason and same time with a limited market available,” said John Bryne, FOX C-6 School District Transportation Director.

School officials said there is a need for bus drivers across the country and the economy is good right now.

“3½ percent unemployment. Most everybody who is looking for a job has a job. There is a lot of competition from the trucking industry,” Bryne said.

The FOX C-6 School District got together and decided to try a new approach and develop drivers. Now they are looking to teachers to fill bus driver shortage.

The administration agreed to invite teachers to get licensed and trained to help with routes. The district serves close to 9,000 students and employs about 100 bus drivers. At this point, they’re about a dozen drivers short and the school year begins next month.

“...We are reaching out to our teachers who finish at 2 or 2:30 who could actually be available at 2:45 to drive those routes for us when other drivers are tied up,” Byrne said.

The district has tried everything to recruit new drivers including increased pay and benefits, job fairs, and advertising to retain and recruit drivers. They said most schools are experiencing some degree of a driver shortage.

The district has received some response from teachers but, of course, the teachers would be required to meet all requirements and training.

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