Lafayette Parish students continue to face instability in transportation, as the school system grapples with a manpower shortage.
17 bus drivers have retired or resigned – some without giving notice, said CAO Joe Craig.
Another dozen or so drivers are on medical leave, Craig said.
“The staff is using existing bus drivers to back up all the vacancies and medical leaves possible,” he said. “They are also hiring and recruiting drivers as quickly as possible. As of this afternoon, we had back up drivers for all but three driver vacancies.”
That means three buses are not running their routes. He said he wasn’t sure how many children are affected. Even children who didn’t lose their bus are being affected by delays, as drivers are covering other routes.
The routes are on the south side of the parish, he said. They’re hoping to have one of those three buses staffed tomorrow, but that’s not finalized yet, he said.
One of the reasons for all the flight is the entrance of a private school transportation system that has come into the area to serve charter schools, Craig said. Some drivers are leaving local systems to work for those companies, he said.
Craig said he understands the problems this causes for parents, and there is definitely urgency to LPSS efforts to find drivers.
“We are working overtime to hire drivers,” he said. “Drivers have to have the proper endorsements, training, and background checks before they can drive a school bus, and that is generally not an overnight process.”
LPSS would like to hire 15 drivers right now, he said. If you’re interested, click here .