DUNLAP, Ill.– The Dunlap School District is in need of help from the community.
The school district has a major shortage of bus drivers.
Not only is it affecting the everyday school bus routes, but also after school events.
“We have positions that are posted. We’ve been advertising everywhere. We’re trying to recruit drivers and we just aren’t getting the applicants to fill the positions that we have,” said Dunlap Superintendent Scott Dearman.
Dearman says you’d make nearly $16 an hour to start out.
Dunlap has 56 school bus routes every morning and afternoon.
The school also has Friday night football as well as soccer, tennis, and cross country during the week.
During the shortage, Dunlap High School Athletic Director Katie Cazalet says parents have really stepped up to get kids to their games.
“We’ve done a couple shuttles with Suburbans, with people who don’t have their CDLs just to get teams to different places. A couple of times we’ve had to put a few of our smaller teams on the same bus,” Cazalet said.
Cazalet says this issue affects all schools in the district.
“That’s one reason we really see the impact now. We have so many activities who are needing extracurricular trips from 6th grade all the way to 12th grade,” Cazalet said.
Dearman says there are four steps to becoming a bus driver.
First step is 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
Then you have to take a written test. After the written test, there’s a driving test.
And finally, you have to take a physical exam.
Dearman says by becoming a driver, you can support your local teams while getting paid.
“If you’re the bus driver that drives the volleyball team all the time, you get to know those kids, you form a relationship with them, and there’s a bond there. And it continues. But the key is to get people in the door and at least get them started,” Dearman said.
Not only could this driver shortage cause the district to possibly cancel events; it could force route times to change.
“Some of or shorter town routes, potentially having to double those up. Which means you’d have to bump some times back a little earlier so a bus could run a short town route, drop a load of students off and then run out and do a shorter town route and come back,” Dearman said.