FMSD bus driver shortage continues
By Connor Lambert
With the district having to provide transportation for 11,000 students, the Fort Mill School District (FMSD) has been experiencing a shortage of bus drivers since the recovery of COVID-19. It’s a problem nationwide.
In the Fort Mill School District, John Weston acts as advisor of transportation for Nation Ford High School, Springfield Elementary, Middle School, and Sugar Creek Elementary School.
“With the growth Fort Mill has been experiencing, our buses are at capacity–in some cases, we even do double runs where a bus will return to the school and pick up the remainder of students that could not fit initially.”
In recent years, the main issue attracting bus drivers is the pay, ranging anywhere from $20-30 an hour. In addition to salary, other challenges in recruiting may be that drivers don’t work 40 hours a week, which puts them in a part-time or seasonal status instead of full-time.
“We are still short on drivers,” Weston admits. “The bus driver position, although very rewarding, carries with it many certification and licensing requirements. Additionally, bus drivers do not keep traditional hours. Not everyone is attracted to a ‘split shift’ schedule.”
Weston and his colleagues in transportation have many responsibilities.
“The most challenging thing would have to be making sure all state, federal, and district regulations are adhered to, all the while ensuring safe and timely delivery of our students,” Weston said.
These problems have been happening all over the U.S. Even though the district recently has been able to hire more bus drivers, it’s not enough to make a huge difference.
Even though Fort Mill Schools has problems with a shortage of bus drivers, the Fort Mill School District, like other districts in the country, has been trying to make a recovery since school closings with COVID-19 and to get every single student to and from school efficiently.