Over the summer, Mahanoy Area School District knew it was going to have an issue with a lack of bus drivers. And earlier this week, that problem caught up with the school.
Just hours before the start of school on Wednesday, the school informed parents that 2 bus drivers were no longer working for Mahanoy Area and therefore, 2 bus routes would not be run that day. That left parents to find their own way to get kids to school on very short notice.
You can see what Mahanoy Area posted on Facebook back on the night of Sept. 7:
The following day, the school issued a more formal statement addressing its bus driver shortage. And it doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon.
“At Mahanoy Area, we expect the need for school bus drivers to remain at critical levels over the coming months. We project that this will impact the District’s ability to provide consistent service well into the 2021-2022 school year,” the school says in that statement. “Despite the District’s best efforts, staffing levels may remain a critical issue through the fall due to circumstances beyond our control.”
Mahanoy Area Cuts 2 Runs Per Week Amid Bus Driver Shortage
Mahanoy Area points to enhanced unemployment benefits as one of the reasons why it and other school districts are facing a bus driver shortage. But even with those benefits ending earlier this week, for now, Mahanoy Area says it can’t solve the bus driver situation overnight.
“It takes time to move an applicant through the hiring process to become qualified to drive a school bus,” the school says. “It can be up to 12 weeks before a potential driver is certified, credentialed, and/or licensed to take the wheel.
The school lays out the raw numbers in this same statement. Mahanoy Area says it is down 7 drivers over the last year. Medical issues, resignation, and termination are the 3 reasons they left, the school says.
In the announcement earlier this week, Mahanoy Area said it lost 2 drivers in a day.
So, this all results in Mahanoy Area not being able to provide bus transportation to students it had promised to provide it for at the beginning of the school year. This week, it’s Bus 9 and Bus 10. Next week, it’ll be Bus 3 and Bus 4. And this is something else – another distraction – the school will have to manage that isn’t directly related to educating students.