SCCPSS looking to hire more bus drivers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCCPSS looking to hire more bus drivers

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

More than 38,000 students returned to school Wednesday in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. This is the first year the district is running its own transportation program after MV Transportation broke their contract last year.

Being the first day of school, the district anticipated that there might be a few problems and it turns out, there were.

School officials say there were a couple of late buses Wednesday morning. Some of that was due to some no-show bus drivers. This summer, the district hired 316 drivers – all of whom are fully credentialed – but the district needs a total of 371 drivers. Most of those drivers are being trained by the school district right now, but officials are still looking to hire about a dozen more drivers.

The school district had 15 phone lines open Wednesday, and officials say they received more than 200 calls from parents Wednesday morning. Last year, officials say they would receive more than 1,000 calls at a time.

“There were some calls coming into the call center for late buses, some buses that didn’t show up. Whenever they got one of those, they got a bus to pick up those students right away,” said SCCPSS spokesperson Sheila Blanco.

A few teachers and staff members were called in to drive school buses Wednesday morning to relieve a shortage. Many of them were coaches because they are CDL certified – which is the type of certification you need to drive a school bus – because many of them will drive their athletes to games.

Officials say they called on any staff members around the county who have this certification to fill in today because they are still not fully staffed for 338 routes.

They are still looking to hire about a dozen more drivers.

But overall, officials believe the first day went a lot smoother compared to years prior between late buses and buses with service issues.

Wednesday, they only had five buses with service issues.

School board members received an overall update on Wednesday afternoon about how officials are still making improvements to the program.

"Those candidates that are still in training on not credentialed to be put on a bus and I'm not going to place them there. So we went to our coaches - as part of my contingency plan - as well as some of our routers. Our call center and any of our transportation staff that had CDL license, they drove a bus this morning,” said SCCPSS Chief Operations Officer Vanessa Kaigler.

Officials say they are still tweaking bus routes so parents expect more changes – those routes will be updated on Friday and will be implemented Monday.

The district has been taking a number of calls Wednesday, they have 15 phone lines open for parents to call with questions or concerns. Please call 912.395.5591.

For more information, read the SCCPSS transportation policy below:

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