School bus driver shortage affecting bus schedules

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 9:05 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s a situation that no one wants, when a school bus is running late to pick up students. Until more bus drivers can be hired, the Sioux Falls School District and School Bus Inc. are working on how to avoid bus delays as much as possible.

While bus driver shortages are nothing new to Sioux Falls, the delays are affecting bus schedules, with some students late to get to or return from school. It’s something that the district hasn’t had much experience in dealing with before.

“And obviously, we take it for granted sometimes that they’re going to get there every day, and on time. And obviously we have the expectation of safety.” said Assistant Superintendent Jamie Nold.

School Bus Inc. has been trying to hire drivers for months now to fill the need, knowing that the addition of two new schools in the district only adds to the demand.

“We have been engaged in efforts to hire the number of school bus drivers that we need for months now, really since the beginning of the summer.” said SBI Vice President of Business Development Steve Hey.

Both the Sioux Falls School District and SBI know the busing issues are affecting families and students. Both parties are continuing to work on their own communication between each other, to let families know as soon as possible when a bus could be late.

“But we need to be able to communicate that out as soon as we know to our families. So communication is the first thing. And we’re going to work on that to make sure we get that improved.” said Nold.

And making sure students stay safe.

“Even if it means getting children to school somewhat late, the most important thing is obviously to make sure they’re safe.” said Hey.

Nold said for students, the district will be working with each school to make sure students get caught up if they arrive late due to busing issues. They also want to make sure it isn’t the same students each time affected by the busing issues.

“Our goal obviously is for it to not be a reoccurring factor. And if it is, to not be the same individual students each time. So that if there’s an issue with a driver shortage, that we rotate that.” said Nold.

Nold said the district and SBI will continue to meet and establish quick communication should bus routes be delayed, and get that information out to families as quickly as possible.

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