LaRue Co. Bus Driver sign

HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Students in LaRue County are getting an unexpected early start on summer vacation.

The school board voted Monday to end the year four days early because of a shortage of bus drivers.

“We have just had issues with having enough bus drivers for a while now,” Superintendent David Raleigh said.

Raleigh said the district has lost almost a quarter of its drivers because of illness, resignation or retirement.

“It just seems like it hit us at once where we're just losing a lot of drivers,” he said.

Raleigh said the district is limping through this week with emergency substitutes who have a commercial driver’s license.

“I’ve got an AG teacher that’s driving. I’ve got a custodian that’s driving. All of our mechanics drive. We’ve got drivers that are doing double routes,” Raleigh said. “The concern was if we lose another driver, what will we do next week?”

Raleigh said he will spend the summer trying to recruit, hire and train new drivers. The district will offer incentives, but he said filling the jobs will not be easy.

“It's not necessarily a pay thing," he said. "It's just there's not enough folks out there that want to do this job.”

The school system has banked enough instructional hours to be able to shut down early. Students will return from an already scheduled day off on Wednesday and finish on Friday.

“I feel like our board made a decision that's in the best interest of our students and staff and families,” Raleigh said.

LaRue County High School Junior Audrey Engle said it is a strange ending to a year already upended by the coronavirus.

“It's been a weird junior year,” she said. “It does kind of seem sad that it’s already ending so fast.”

Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.