ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Public Schools District says they’re making progress dealing with the shortage of drivers, but they are not out of the woods yet.
After getting complaints from parents, FOX 2 contacted Square Watson, deputy superintendent of operations for SLPS, about the trouble that’s causing families and school administrators.
The district switched bus companies last July. It changed for First Student, which charged $28 million a year, then to the Missouri Central School Bus, which charges $30 million.
“Our services are getting better students are getting transported daily,” Watson said. “We initially started the year with challenges because of staffing, and now at this point, all of our routes have been covered. We’re still deficient when it comes to drivers. We are 20 or 30 shy of being fully staffed.”
He said they have more drivers than they used to have, and there are enough to cover the routes by paying overtime. The district is also paying a lot for alternate transportation like taxi cabs to get kids to school.
A year ago, alternate transportation cost the district $1.5 million. SLPS is in the same boat as other school districts. Most of them are short on drivers in what is a nationwide problem.
It’s a nightmare for some parents who say their kids have been stranded at the bus stop by drivers who were late or didn’t show up at all.
The school district says those days are a thing of the past. However, they say that they still have a lot of work to do. Square said he expects more improvement in the months ahead.