On Your Side
Bus driver shortage in Meridian
Tina Jensen reports. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Getting our kids to school - it’s a necessity in providing education to students.
But over the summer, the Meridian School District lost a few dozen bus drivers and gained lots more students.
The shortage is providing headaches for parents, students and the district.
There are 33 openings for bus drivers in the district. Over the summer, some drivers retired – and some quit.
Without these drivers, buses are packed, students are tardy to school, and the District is playing a game of chess trying to get all the students back and forth from school.
"It's a large system and you take on bus out of that system, and then that has to be spread over other buses, and then you finally get a driver put back in and that all the changes,” said Don Nesbitt, transportation director for the Meridian School District. “It's been very frustrating for parents."
The job isn’t for everyone and it isn't easy. Starting pay is $11.25. The part-time hours are odd, with some in the early morning and some mid-afternoon. Drivers have to be aware of what’s happening on the road and simultaneously be the caretaker for 50 students – or more.
But for those who love kids, it can be rewarding.
"Sometimes as a bus driver, you're the first smile they see of the day and the last smile they see going home,” said Scott Kerr, driver and administrator with the district. “When I think about that, it's gratifying when I can do that."
If you’re a parent who’s experiencing problems with your child’s route, you can contact the Meridian School District at 855-4400 or through their webpage.