EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – The East St Louis School District 189 is struggling with a problem that is confronting school districts all over our area, a shortage of bus drivers.
That’s causing big delays and students having long waits for the bus or the bus not showing up at all. A parent of a seventh-grader in the school district called the You Paid For It Team and told Elliott Davis that the bus has been late every day since the school year began in August.
Erica Marchbanks said she called the bus company hired by the school district, as well as school officials, but got nowhere. You Paid For It reached the district executive director of communications who says the company that transports students is dealing with the same driver shortage as others across the region and the nation.
Sydney Kaufman said there are 64 routes and 57 drivers. She added there’s a new twist because of a new Illinois law. It requires school districts to transport kids who would have to cross street gang activity, which is considered hazardous.
So, the school district went from transporting 2,200 students to carrying 3,600 kids, all with a driver shortage. Parents say better communications might have helped their situation, giving them more time for planning.
The district says often it didn’t know until the last minute how many drivers they would have.