Kettering schools’ bus driver shortage could affect routes

Local News

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — Kettering City Schools are in need of substitute bus drivers after a significant shortage.

“We transport 5,300 kids daily. Out of the 5,300 kids daily that we transport, 409 of those are special needs students that we provide special services for,” says Todd Silverthorn, the Transportation Supervisor for Kettering City Schools.

The district has 68 bus routes and currently only three substitute drivers. Nearly every day, they’ve been coming up short.

“We’ve had as many as 19 to cover in a day,” describes Silverthorn.

The district is looking to hire a dozen substitute bus drivers. Because there is so much of a need, they’ll take even as many as 16 new hires.

The shortage is being blamed on turnover, a decline in interest, and a growing economy where more people are applying for full-time jobs rather than part-time ones. Because of the lack of drivers, the district has been forced to dip into other resources, like office staff and mechanics.

“Our mechanics are driving every single day. They’ve been driving probably since September,” says Silverthorn.

When mechanics have to drive, it puts them behind in maintenance and inspections, and therefore, when they get behind, it puts buses at risk.

“Ideally we’d like to keep them off the road, but when push comes to shove, we have to do what we have to do,” admits Silverthorn.

If positions aren’t filled and filled soon, changes could happen even before the end of this school year.

“If we have to look at combining routes, that’s longer ride times for students,” says Silverthorn. “It could be, you know, a ten minute delay. Some students could see up to a two hour delay.”

If you are interested in becoming a substitute bus driver, you can come to the Transportation Center behind Beavertown Elementary at 2640 Wilmington Pike in Kettering from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you have any questions, contact the superintendent’s office at 937-499-1430.

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