"We found that we reached a breaking point," said Todd Stoltz, superintendent of the West Shore School District. "That has pushed us to a point where we are just unable to meet the daily transportation needs that we have."
A two-week plan has been put in place that shifts Red Land High School, Cedar Cliff High School, and Crossroads Middle School to alternating remote learning days throughout the school week.
After weeks of altering pick-up and drop-off times to address the shortage, they say alternating remote learning days is their only feasible option.
"The things we had been doing to modify and try to mitigate altering the schedule even greater than what we already did was not going to be feasible and decided that we needed another option," said Stoltz.
School district officials add they will continue to work with families to ensure the best quality of education for their kids.
"I’m confident that our building teams will figure that out for students and work with families again to minimize and mitigate the impact on students and their learning," said Stoltz.
The school district says there are currently 14 vacant driver positions and will likely take longer than the two-week plan they have in place to get back to full staff.
"This is not a 'snap our fingers' and a quick fix," said Stoltz. "This is a larger problem than that and it will take time."
First Student, the transportation provider for West Shore School District said in a statement to FOX43:
“There continues to be a need for school bus drivers nationwide, including in the West Shore School District. We are actively recruiting and hiring drivers for both big buses and vans...As far as we’re concerned, we can never have too many drivers. We want to provide as many students as possible with safe and reliable transportation.”
To entice more drivers, the bus company is offering the following wages and benefits:
- $20.00/hour starting wage
- $3,000 sign-on bonus for CDL drivers
- $2,000 sign-on bonus for non-experienced drivers
- $1,000 sign-on bonus for van drivers
- Paid CDL training
- Child ride-along program
- Flexible Schedules
- Five paid holidays
- Benefits and 401k
The school district says they are receiving more interest and hope to return to a normal schedule soon.
"Our goal is to have students be in-person," said Stoltz. "We would love to not be in this situation where we are having to alter the academic schedule as a result of this challenge, and we look to get back to that as quickly as possible."
People interested in becoming a bus driver for the West Shore School District can contact First Student at 717-938-8788 or apply on their website.