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Labor shortage continues as schools prepare to reopen

Idaho launches school bus safety awareness campaign
Posted at 1:28 PM, Aug 18, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — It's officially back-to-school season!

As schools across the country prep to welcome students back to class, they're struggling to fill a variety of open positions--including bus drivers.

Here in the Gem State, school has already started for some kids--but local school districts are feeling the impacts of the labor crunch.

The Nampa School District is just one of the local districts grappling with the lack of bus drivers. The district works with Brown Bus Company--but say the lack of drivers could have serious impacts.

"While we are working on a solution, it is still possible that buses might be late picking up students," the district wrote in a post on Facebook. "This means kids could be picked up and dropped off late – possibly an hour or more. This situation could have ripple effects throughout the community."

The district and Brown are looking to hire more drivers--and are working to make sure that doesn't happen.

"That's always the worst-case scenario. We're trying to avoid that," said Brent Carpenter, Operations Manager with Brown Bus Company. "Our dispatch team, route supervisors, everyone is working very hard to make sure that doesn't happen but that ultimately could be."

Nampa isn't the only district dealing with the labor shortage--West Ada says they're hiring for bus drivers too. Districts across the state are also hiring for other positions too--like custodial and nutrition services.

West Ada's Communications Director, Char Jackson, says overall for what the district needs for their buildings, custodial is down 30%.

"They're very important positions within our district," Jackson said. "The safety of our students and having a clean classroom is of utmost importance."

West Ada has held several job fairs in the past few weeks in order to help fill those open positions.