The Mackay School District could only have just two regular bus drivers next year, half the number Transportation Supervisor Mike Winters would like.
Bus routes could be altered next year if more drivers aren’t hired, Winters said. Instead of pulling up near students’ homes to pick them up, Winters said they might establish designated stops along two routes, one north and the other south of Mackay.
“It’ll be kind of a hassle” for the parents, Winters admitted, because for some it might mean having to drive their student a few miles to a stop.
School officials have advertised the positions, put out flyers, contacted people in person and added a sign-on bonus, but no one seems interested. On April 5, Winters said he scheduled an evening of bus driver training, but no one showed up. In a discussion he had with Mackay school board members during their April meeting, Winters said “in my eight years of driving, I’ve never seen it this scarce.”
Part of the problem, Winters explained, is the hours drivers work. Getting up early in the morning, taking a long break in the middle of the day and then working in the afternoon is not an ideal schedule for most people, he said. Winters suggested the board consider increasing bus drivers’ pay to entice people. But because the board won’t review the district’s budget for another few months, Winters said he doesn’t know if that idea will work.
Winters has a few substitute drivers who can fill in from time to time. None of them have any interest in being a regular driver.
Winters plans another training session in the next couple weeks and will continue to advertise.
“I’m just hoping we’re in drought right now,” Winters said.