CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Parkway School District held a school board meeting about the school bus driver shortage and what’s next ahead of the upcoming school year.
Parkway School District CFO Patty Bedborough said the district hopes to have a solution to a problem plaguing schools nationwide by this fall.
“Our main goal is to transport students safely and securely to and from school safely each day,” said Bedborough.
Ryan Kerr was one of the parents at the meeting who voiced their concern about the bus driver shortage. children in the district.
“I think we need to address the real root issue of why we’re losing bus drivers. Why can’t we keep people for a couple of years? I think that starts with the toxic seniority complex that’s within the transportation department,” said Kerr.
The district was short of 13 bus drivers at the end of the school year which equals about 30 bus routes impacting 1,000 students, according to the district website.
“Obviously, we have to have immediate solutions, but they can’t be arbitrary. They can’t put out the citizens and the parents of the district,” said Kerr.
Bedborough expects the number of students needing transportation next fall to return to pre-pandemic numbers.
Walking to school for some students could be a reality out of necessity because of a lack of school bus drivers.
“Schools such as Green Trails Elementary, that’s tucked in the middle of a subdivision. The subdivision has ample sidewalks, that’s where our walk zone will be expanded for that one mile,” said Bedborough.
Kerr said he doesn’t like the idea of kids walking to school.
“I don’t think it safe for any child to be walking an entire mile, period. I don’t care if they’re 12 or 15 or 6 like mine,” said Kerr. “I just don’t think it’s acceptable in this time in age with the issues that we have in society.”
Bedborough said hiring new bus drivers is a process.
“They need training, that training takes time, plus the testing takes time,” said Bedborough. “It’s not just that they’re ready and the state of Missouri is ready for that testing as well. We’re hoping to not only attract new bus drivers but have them trained and ready to safely transport our students in the fall.”