Transportation Alert: Driver Shortage
The new year is off to a great start! Thank you for your patience and understanding during the inclement weather we experienced during our return to school. With our return, we are managing staffing challenges throughout our district, particularly within our transportation department. Please review the following information carefully, even if your student does not ride the bus.
BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE
It’s no secret that districts across the state and nation are facing serious bus driver shortages and have routinely canceled routes since school began. In Oak Harbor, so far, we have maintained the drivers needed and had just enough subs to avoid disruption to any transportation service. Unfortunately, COVID-19, coupled with illnesses and absences, has exacerbated our existing driver shortage this week, and we anticipate this to continue during this school year.
We are still actively seeking and recruiting new bus drivers, offering paid CDL training, full benefits, retirement contributions, and competitive wages. We hope to have more drivers soon, but it takes eight weeks to complete our state’s rigorous training and testing process. If you or someone you know might consider part-time work as a substitute or regular bus driver, we encourage you to apply.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR CHILD?
All of our buses are still operating as normal. However, we have pulled mechanics, schools subs, and office transportation staff to fill in on routes, all of whom have their CDL licenses. Re-assigning staff in this way leaves our district understaffed in the transportation office or to respond to emergencies if a bus breaks down. We will continue to do our very best to fill the routes, but we may need to cancel specific routes without more drivers.
Again, we are doing everything we can to avoid the cancellation of any route. If a route must be canceled or modified, we will notify families with as much time as possible. We strongly encourage families to build contingency transportation plans now, hoping they aren’t needed.
Here’s a link to our Job Opportunities page and online application. If anyone needs help applying or has additional questions, please reach out to the HR department at 360.279.5000. If you or anyone you know have questions about becoming a driver, don't hesitate to contact our Transportation Director Cathi Gutierrez at 360-279-5570.
We know having transportation limitations is a hardship on families, and we’re doing all we can to find more drivers. We appreciate your help and understanding as we work through this together.