By JIM MAURER
CAREY — A shortage of bus drivers in the Carey School District may force administrators to stagger starting times for the elementary and junior/senior high school students, and run separate bus routes with fewer buses.
“We are in desperate need of bus drivers,” Superintendent Mike Wank said at Monday’s school board meeting. The district will train interested individuals, he said.
There are several veteran drivers who will be retiring soon, which will compound the need for drivers, Wank said. He praised current drivers for putting off other activities to cover their routes, and for not calling in when not feeling well.
He will advertise for drivers, Wank said. Anyone interested should contact Lenny Orians, bus driver supervisor.
Wank said the driver shortage is a statewide problem. Districts want to keep bus drivers and substitute drivers, especially if they have trained them.
It is a difficult job to fill, Wank said, because drivers work from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., which splits up their day.
The district may start elementary students earlier and the older students later, he said. The district is over the required amount of daily hours mandated by the state, so 30 to 45 minutes could be cut from the district’s schedule.
Separately, Holly Fetro, a district resident, voiced concern that she was not contacted when her children were on a bus that was involved in a minor accident recently. She said she would have picked up her children if she had been contacted.
A second bus was brought out, but a third bus with a lift had to be brought for two students in wheelchairs, including Fetro’s son. The bus in the accident had a chair lift, but it couldn’t be used because the bus was pushed up against a guardrail, Wank said.
No one was injured in the accident.
Wank agreed the incident took a long time. He said bus drivers are trained and the district takes student safety “very seriously.”
The administration will review board policy.
The board approved a resolution allowing payment to the Fetros, who now have opted to take their children to school. The children, who live in the Carey School District, attend Mohawk school and North Central Academy.
Separately, the board approved maternity leave for Teresa Gillig, effective on or about Dec. 20.
The board also accepted the resignation of custodian Ron Odone, effective Nov. 7.
Emily Arredondo was appointed by the board to a seven-year term on Dorcas Carey Public Library Board. The school district serves as the fiscal agent for the library.
The recently created high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Club received $4,290 in various donations to assist with club activities.
Send an E-mail to Jim Maurer