GRANITE CITY, Ill. – After a difficult start to the school year on Granite City School District’s bus routes, all bus routes are resuming for all students Monday.
“This Monday, we get to add routes back and we’re just really excited to be able to do that for our students,” Stephanie Cann, superintendent of the granite city school district, said.
The district, along with many locally and across the nation, has been dealing with a bus driver shortage. The shortage at GCSD caused some students to miss school.
At the end of August, the district announced it was going to provide excused absences and allow students to make up work if they could not get transportation to school.
“To know that we couldn’t provide transportation for all of our students is something no district wants to face,” Cann said.
Madison County Transit heard about the shortage and stepped in to help by allowing students to ride their busses for free.
“It really couldn’t have been done if we didn’t have everybody’s help,” Cann said. “It’s been a hard experience, but more so for the parents and we’re just really happy to get everyone back to school the way they’re supposed to be.”
While these solutions were temporary, Cann said they have been reopening routes as soon as they could with more drivers hired and trained.
Starting Monday, all routes are open and it’s an announcement that moved Cann to tears.
“We really appreciate the people taking the time and came to help us,” she said.
Cann said she talked with bus drivers last week who had been with the district for decades, and others that are just starting. She believed the about $3,000 bonus helped new drivers get on board.
She said this was a collaborative effort to hire and train more drivers. This included help from Madison County Transit, local authorities, and the communications department
Cann said every time a plea for more drivers in the district was broadcasted on local media, they received an uptick in applications.
She said they still need more because as of now they have the bare minimum amount of drivers to keep the routes operating. However, she said if a driver is sick, this could mean route changes or cancellations.
To learn more about becoming a bus driver, which also serves area districts, click here.