Local school districts facing bus driver shortage as students head back to class

MIAMI VALLEY — Several local districts are facing a roadblock that’s making back to school more difficult than usual.

Many of the schools’ transportation departments are finding it hard to recruit bus drivers, and some are facing major shortages.

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Kettering City Schools held their first day of school for most students last Thursday, kindergarteners joined for their first day Monday, but administrators say there is one group they still need more people to join—bus drivers.

Kettering schools enroll about 7500 students across the district, and a lot of them get to school on a bus.

The problem is the transportation department has gone from more than 100 bus drivers last year to just 84 right now.

Kettering school superintendent Scott Inskeep told News Center 7 the district is consolidating routes. They’ve also told all but one of their private, parochial school partners that they cant provide transportation right now.

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Kettering is far from alone in this fight. Trotwood school officials said they are short about a half dozen drivers since last year.

Even a district that believes they have enough drivers now, Like Centerville, is actively seeking substitute drivers and bus aides, just in case.

The reasons for the struggle vary. Trotwood administrators said the state is moving slower than ever on background checks, and leaders in Kettering are facing competition for people looking for driving jobs, such as the Amazon distribution center.

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Now school districts are doing what employers have been forced to do, recruit openly and loudly.

“We’re always looking for drivers, they can go on-line if they want to apply and wed surely be glad to interview them and hire them,” Inskeep said.

Kettering school leaders said that if you’re looking to get back into the workforce, this is a good way to do it, and as they say, you also get to help the next generation reach their full potential.