CAIRO, Ga. (WTXL) — “Grady County, just like every other county in this country, is seeing a shortage of bus drivers,” Grady County Schools District Superintendent Dr. Eric McFee said.
School is back in session but the battle for more bus drivers has just begun. With over 4,400 students in Grady County’s school district 50% of them rely on school bus transportation. Grady School District currently has 22 drivers with 3 substitution faculty members stepping in.
A dilemma that is putting parents in tight situations when it comes to transportation for their children. Grady County parent, Amy Meissner, feels for parents who aren’t able to make the adjustment so easily.
“I’m able to take my lunch from 2:30 to 3:30. I run and I get them and I come back to work but there’s a lot of kids and parents in our area who aren’t able to do that,” says Amy Meissner.
She found out the Friday before school began that there wouldn’t be a bus available for her route for the upcoming school year.
“We’re paying taxes and we want a bus,” says Meissner.
Though superintendent McFee isn’t convinced money is the issue for the lack of bus driver applications.
“It would be difficult to sit there with 60 kids in my back, um, driving and the children sometime are not the most well behaved. It’s a dangerous job, I think respect has gone down hill a little bit in this country,” says McFee.
Grady County currently has all hands-on deck with coaches and even principals substituting as drivers.
While they wait for those positions to be filled, the school district has hired an optimization consultant to help in the meantime.
“Well maybe we can reorganize the routes that they take. Maybe the routes can be done differently so that we can optimize the usage of the drivers. I can’t do it with less drivers that would be impossible,” says McFee.
The school system is working towards fixing the problem as soon as possible but in the meantime will continue to have drivers drive double routes to get kids home.