How transportation is coping with understaffing

How transportation is coping with understaffing
Posted on 11/16/2022
Mehlville School District bus

The district’s transportation department made some changes this year due to a bus driver shortage. Currently, the department is down 15 drivers.

The department has combined bus routes where it can. Currently, there are enough drivers to cover all of the routes, unless someone is on leave due to illness, family emergency or other reason. When that happens, transportation office staff get behind the wheel.
Members of the Transportation Department
Image: Justin Keller, special needs coordinator, Mark Keiser, training and safety coordinator, and Tracy Herbert, router/dispatcher, routinely fill in for drivers to get kids to and from school.

Tracy Herbert and Justin Keller are the primary dispatchers for district buses. When they are driving, the transportation manager and the trip and activity specialist manage dispatch.

“That’s a high volume of dispatch communication for one or two people to manage on top of their usual duties,” Herbert said.

The transportation department has had instances where they need more than three substitute drivers. In that case, they tap the district’s mail delivery driver. They’ve even requested the assistance of school secretaries who are licensed and have bus driving experience.

“It is only by the commitment and creativity of the leaders in the Transportation Department that we have been able to stave off route cuts, and while their efforts are recognized and appreciated, the notion of operating without a fully staffed workforce is not sustainable,” said Dr. Chad Dickemper, executive director of planning and operations.

Visit the Human Resources section of our website to apply for a bus driver position. If you don't currently have required certifications, our staff will help you train and obtain them!

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