School district scrambles for new bus drivers

By Laurie Hamame -

A bus driver shortage at the Oberlin City Schools has the district scrambling to find new hires.

Six full-time and two substitute drivers kicked off the school year, but those numbers slowly declined from staff illnesses, superintendent David Hall said Tuesday at a board of education meeting.

Working with New London, Keystone, Amherst, and Wellington schools to share drivers has alleviated some stress, but Hall said Oberlin is still on the lookout for applicants.

Routes have been combined to accommodate the driver shortage. The district contracts with First Student Inc., a bus service in Elyria, to run the Lake Ridge route.

A van will be purchased to assist in transporting students to athletic events, academic competitions, and field trips.

Adjusting school times was brought up for consideration by a few board members but Hall nixed the idea, saying the district would spend too much time analyzing the pros and cons.

Buses would have to go to houses twice if siblings attended different schools, and changing routes for 988 students and parents wouldn’t solve anything, he said.

“You can offer incentive programs, you can offer money, but what they (drivers) really want is to feel valued and like they are part of the team,” Hall said.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

By Laurie Hamame