Bus driver shortage 'extreme'

School bus fees may be only part of the problem for SD 60 in coming year

School District 60 transportation supervisor Mike Fitzgerald recently told the district's board that area schools are facing an "extreme" shortage of bus drivers.

"We just don't have any spare drivers, and we just can't seem to attract them," he said.

SD 60 Secretary-Treasurer Doug Boyd said that the problem was not a new one, but that it was "growing." Difficulty in supplying bus drivers was no longer an unusual case, but more of a "standard process."

"Professional drivers are in demand throughout the community," he said. "It's not unusual or unique to our situation."

He also said that it was "a little more difficult" to compete within the industry.

Changing work demands also can mean difficulties in keeping these types of employees, Boyd added.

No solution was formally voted upon immediately after the report was given, but ideas on how to improve things were offered up by some of the trustees. One trustee, Darrell Pasichnyk, said that the school could consider partnering up with Northern Lights College to help with the shortage.

The situation is not unique to SD 60. The same can also be said of School District 59, which encompasses the Dawson Creek area. The matter was discussed at a November 2013 SD 59 meeting.

"The transportation department is very low on bus drivers," according to the meeting's minutes. "The district has very little on call drivers, and recently bus runs were cancelled due to having no drivers available."

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