Not just in Raleigh County, but throughout the mountain state, school districts are having to deal with a shortage of bus drivers. In Raleigh County, administrators are seeing the shortage affect local events held at schools.
David Price is the Superintendent of Raleigh County Schools. He said they have around 130 drivers, and 12 to 15 substitute drivers to manage the many bus routes.
“We are getting to a point where we don’t have enough substitutes and we use our mechanics who are trained bus operators out of our shop to cover some of those routes as well,” Price said.
Price said when it comes to bus routes they have to make sure students get to and from school before they can start to transport students for athletic events.
Casey Crane is the Athletic Director at Woodrow Wilson High School. He said because of the shortage they had to reschedule a basketball game at Spring Valley. He also said it is not just athletic events that are struggling to get to places on time.
On Tuesday, Woodrow Wilson High School had to reschedule a basketball game at Spring Valley, but it is not just athletic events that are struggling to get to places on time.
“Either in the morning or after school we can’t leave early enough,” Crane said. “We have had academic teams being late for events. Show teams being late to events because it’s a bus shortage and it’s unfortunate not having enough drivers to cover all the routes, and substitutes to replace those drivers when they do extra curricular events.”
Street Sarrett is the head football and wrestling coach at Woodrow Wilson High School. He said he sees first hand how the shortage is affecting athletic events.
“Perfect example a two day tournament, they usually start at 4 o’clock. Well we can’t get a bus until after 4, so that puts us in a bind on Fridays. A couple weeks ago, it put us bind. We didn’t get to wrestle at all on Friday night at Point Pleasant,” Sarrett said.
Both Crane and Sarret said that the Department of Transportation in Raleigh County is working with the Board of Education on ways to fix this problem. One bus driver in Raleigh County spoke with 59 News and said the problem comes from having a lot of older drivers that are now at the age when they want to retire.
If anyone would like to become a bus driver, they can contact the Department of Transportation or the Board of Education.