Green Country School Districts Struggle To Hire Enough Bus Drivers


Monday, August 22nd 2022, 5:17 pm



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Many Green Country school districts are struggling to hire enough bus drivers.

The driver shortage can lead to confusion and frustration for parents and students who are impacted. Right now, Union Public Schools needs 15 drivers. The district has added a $2,000 sign-on bonus and raised its minimum wage by $2 an hour, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

District leaders said they hope these incentives will attract more drivers. For almost 28 years, Frank Brazwell has been driving for Union Public Schools. 

"We simply work to make sure that we get the routes covered, make sure that we work together," said Brazwell.

Director of Transportation, Susan Pettit, said Union Public Schools had 15 routes to cover Monday morning, so that means even she and the district's mechanics drive when needed.

"We just pulled everybody we can with a CDL,” explained Pettit. “We took a couple of routes and split them up, and said, 'You go pick up this group, and then turn around and go pick up this group.'"

Meanwhile, Tulsa Public Schools reported it has "10 critical vacancies."

Parent, Abby Hanson, told News On 6 the Tulsa Public Schools bus did not pick up her eighth grader from Edison Preparatory last Thursday or Friday. The mom said when she called the district last week, someone told her the bus route did not have a driver to take her child home.

"Why didn't you tell any parents? Why was there no text message? Why was there no email?" And they said, 'Well, we just weren't sure what we were going to do yet, so we didn't reach out.'"

In a statement to News On 6, a spokesperson for TPS said:

"The bus routes did run last Thursday and Friday and we have drivers for every bus route. If a bus is running late, our transportation team will contact the school and notify the principal."

Hanson, like other parents, said she understands there is a bus driver shortage but would appreciate better communication.

Jenks Public Schools said it is short 16 bus drivers. Owasso Public Schools said it needs two more drivers.

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