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These Louisiana schools can’t get enough bus drivers. It’s a problem all over the country | Education – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-10-24 10:15:00 –

When Kathy Griffin stepped into a bus driver training class at Livingston Parochial School in 2006, the room was filled with nearly 40 people.

Last Monday, Griffin hosted a similar training — this time as a teacher. About 12 people came.

“I don’t know why it’s so scarce,” said Griffin, 62, a driver in the Denham Springs region. “And it’s not just us. Other states have this problem. I don’t know what one common denominator is across the country.”

of MassachusettsLast month, the governor summoned 250 National Guards to act as bus drivers due to a shortage of states, according to school traffic news. NS Philadelphia School District The Philadelphia Tribune reported that it offers parents cash incentives to take their children to school.When Indiana Pike Township According to Chalkbeat Indiana, students moved to virtual learning when the shortage became more serious.

About half of the respondents New national survey Announced by some school transportation, their driver shortage was described as “serious” or “desperate.”

In the past, the Livingston Parochial School’s deputy driver list was three pages long, according to LPS traffic supervisor Joshua Day. Currently, if the district is lucky, a “couple” of submarines will be commissioned.

“We’ve always been tinkering with submarines, enough to cover all our daily routes,” Day said. “It’s just getting worse.”

The declining number of backup drivers is straining the ability of the school system to bring about 20,000 children to school on time and safely take them home every afternoon. The submarine, which previously filled three pages, has become a full-time driver, but many years of drivers have retired due to COVID concerns or because they have found better employment.

Driver ads are everywhere. Posted outside the Livingston Parochial School Board front desk and other district facilities. Some ads are posted on the local Facebook group.

The shortage began long before the pandemic, Griffin said. Driving has a unique time that is suitable for housewives and retirees, but salary alone is not enough to support a family.

Drivers start at $ 19.79 an hour, but next year they will jump to $ 20.34 an hour, Day said. They work 25 hours a week and receive full state benefits, including health insurance and state retirement.

“We have decent wages, but not many, so if you’re a single parent, they can’t afford to stay and you lose some people,” Griffin said. “This day is like having two full-time salaries that are about to end in order for the family to survive.”

In the past, in some areas, school bus driving was a family problem and was passed down from parent to child.

“It’s a little less in today’s society,” Day said.

Recruitment is one issue, but ending the course is another.

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“If you have a class of 10 to 15, when you finish half of the class, you may feel like you’ve achieved something because not everyone in the class finishes,” says Griffin.

Some of the first promising drivers can’t pass the background check, while others are afraid to drive a huge, unwieldy car like a school bus.

“Actually, it parks better than the F-150,” Vanessa Browning, 41, said with a laugh. She drives for a live oak that worked for her when the kids started going to school.

If the agent cannot cover any of the approximately 290 routes within the parish, the driver will take a “breakdown” or a “buddy route,” Browning said.

“We take a route and divide it into parts and drivers in the area directly. They take a part of that route along with the route,” she explained.

This system works, but it gets a little more complicated. With no sublist to speak, Day said it was important to get a qualified driver through the system.

“Now we got them on the route as soon as we certified the drivers,” he said.

Future drivers will participate in requirements such as 30-40 hours of class, 7 hours of driving without students, and 20 hours of driving with a trainer. The latest classes started on October 18th, but more classes are planned for 2022.

According to Day, the training requirements are strict and for good reason.

“You carry the most valuable cargo,” he said. “It’s our future.”

Since 2015, a total of 360 vehicles have been added with about 100 new buses, and the district offers its own maintenance.

Due to the lack of drivers, some families are concerned. Parents want consistency, Day said.There are “missing frustration pockets” throughout the parish

When Day explained their limits, he said his parents understood better.

Griffin, both a district driver and course instructor, said the greatest joy of work was the children she sees every day.

“I have a lot of children. my child“They know that I will protect them in everything. If you work a little with these kids and let them know they are not alone, they will be yours. You can make the world. “

These Louisiana schools can’t get enough bus drivers. It’s a problem all over the country | Education Source link These Louisiana schools can’t get enough bus drivers. It’s a problem all over the country | Education

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