Westfield Washington Schools experiencing bus driver shortage

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WESTFIELD, Ind. – Some parents in Westfield are fed up about school buses running late. They say their kids are waiting at the bus stop for an extra 20 minutes and even coming home late too. The inconsistent schedule is frustrating to some.

Westfield Washington Schools say they have enough buses but not enough drivers. The problem has been so consistent. Parents now expect their child’s bus to be late.

Sarah Raigner is a busy mom of three, including a daughter in 9th grade. She said her daughter’s school bus has been dropping off or picking up at least 20 minutes late. It’s been happening a few times a week for the last month.

“Our schedule is not even possible to continue is extremely frustrating,” she said.

She said she gets a notice from the school district about the late school bus while her 9th grader is already outside waiting at the stop.

“We will have therapy here and so I need to be here so I can take care of my other child,” Raigner said.

The district’s superintendent, Sherry Grate, said they are working to fix the problem and hope to hire at least eight more drivers. She said that will allow routes to be on time when someone calls in. Grates said all of their substitutes are working full-time right now.

“We understand we need to have some strategies to address the challenge,” Grate said. “Some of our drivers do one route in the morning. Some of our drivers do two drivers in the morning so our Director of Transportation has to look at all of those factors.”

Raigner applauded the school district for acknowledging the problem. She just hopes they can add some depth to its bench soon.

Grate said they are brainstorming a number of incentives to bring in more drivers. They’ve contacted local businesses and are even thinking about increasing wages.

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Carmel Clay Schools is also looking for more school bus drivers.

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