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3 area school districts forced to make busing changes Monday as a result of a driver shortage

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Nov 08, 2021

ASHTABULA, Ohio — As schools let out in Ashtabula Monday afternoon there was something missing from the landscape: school buses. The district was forced to sideline its yellow fleet for the day due to “excessive absence in the transportation department.”

Parents like Irene Evans got the call just after six Monday morning.

“I’m like ugh. Now I got to call off work,” she said. “I have three kids so I had to pick up three different times.”

Melissa Cameron finds herself doing the same juggling only with more kids.

“We have six kids in five different buildings so it was a little crazy. But we got them all, they all got to school on time and now we’re going to start pickup.”

Ashtabula schools were not alone on this day with this problem. In Streetsboro Monday morning, the district was forced to cancel service on two of their bus routes while in Wooster they faced a similar staffing shortage that Superintendent Gabe Tudor said they were able to handle by doubling routes.

“So a bus driver will take an entire group of students, maybe their regular route to school and then they’ll go and pick up another group of students as an additional route,” Tudor said.

The National School Transportation Association saw this coming on in August in a survey of districts across the country they found three out of four having to alter transportation services because of driver shortages and more than half listing their driver shortage as “severe or desperate.”

Superintendents from around the state are in Columbus this week for a conference and Tudor says this is a topic of discussion.

“It’s just getting people who are interested in doing the job right now.”

He’s not sure what his staffing will be yet for Tuesday morning, same in Ashtabula though the district’s superintendent told News 5 late Monday things were looking positive.