Lack of bus drivers leads to delays for Bullitt County students - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lack of bus drivers leads to delays for Bullitt County students

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some local Bullitt County students didn't get home until after 6 p.m. on the first day of school this year, and that has some bus drivers ready to put yesterday in their rearview mirror.

Now Bullitt County schools is hoping to hire more bus drivers as soon as possible.

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

That's got to be the motto for Debbie Hester and many other Bullitt County school bus drivers after a first day that wouldn't score well on any report card.

"I'm working on 20 years," Hester said. "Yesterday was my worst day. "It normally takes me 'til 4:30 to get home, and yesterday I didn't drop my last student off until a little after 6."

It was more than just the normal slow loading students. Bus drivers switched to a new route-mapping system this year.

Adding to the problem -- Bullitt County schools has 100 bus routes and not enough people to sit behind the wheel.

"It was chaotic," said Jackie Liner, another bus driver for the county.

It created a perfect storm of confusion.

"Unfortunately, we just need applicants," said Staci Goedde, Director of Transportation. "We need people that have the qualifications to start the training...we tried but we were just unable to get enough applicants to do that."

"You're not going to get rich on it," said Liner about the job.

Bullitt County Schools increased its hourly wage for starting bus drivers to stave off competition from a better paying JCPS. The district is also paying for the 44 hours of training after drivers work 60 days.

Leaders hope to have all positions filled by October. In the meantime, they've hired private busing companies to fill the gaps.

"I think it's a really good job. That's why I've been here for so long," said Hester.

Until they find more people like Hester, they're asking parents for patience through the bumps in the road.

"I know that's hard if you have a 5-year-old and you're not sure when they're getting home, but our kids are very safe when they're on our buses and we just reassure parents that yes, they are taken care of and that's our number one priority," said Goedde.

Starting pay for a Bullitt County bus driver increased nearly $2 an hour to about $14.50 this year.

If you're interested, you can apply here: https://bullittky.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

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