In Lafayette Parish, not everyone made it to class on time.
The transportation department had another year of bus issues. The district says this year’s transportation problems stem from drivers quitting without notice.
“If we have the advanced notice, we can make the accommodations and route adjustments,” said Joe Craig, Lafayette Parish School System’s Chief Administrative Officer. “It just put us in a bit of a bind when it comes at the last minute or unannounced.”
Craig says in the last two weeks, the district has lost around seven to eight bus drivers. Since the end of May, 15 drivers have retired or resigned. Many of them quit to work at private companies where they can make more money.
“We appreciate the parents understanding as we get drivers in place,” Craig said.
Now, the school system is reassigning drivers to cover routes.
“Before school starts, you want to feel like everything is done and you’re ready to start the school year,” said Heather Bourque. “It feels very unfinished and undone.”
Bourque lives in Youngsville and has two students who ride the bus. She says her kids’ bus driver was not aware of their new subdivision.
“We need that security to know who is taking our kids to and from school and that he’ll be on time,” said Bourque.
She contacted the transportation department in March, July and again two days before school started. It was not until the day before school that she received information about her kids’ bus driver.
“We need that to arrange our daily lives and to get the kids to school,” Bourque said.
Tuesday night, Bourque was able to contact her kids’ bus driver and arranged where he would pick up.
“We saw him coming and cheered. He pulled up and I said thanks so much for being so patient.”
Craig says overall, the first day ran smoothly. He’s optimistic school transportation will continue to improve as new drivers come on-board.
“We have future drivers in the terms of being trained and getting their certifications in place,” said Craig.
The school system is still hiring bus drivers. You’re asked to call the human resources department if you’re interested in becoming a driver.
If you still have questions about your child’s bus or bus route, call 337-521-RIDE. Craig said, if you can’t get through to send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will try to find a solution for you.