The Putnam County School System has 12 unfilled bus driver positions and has done away with 5 bus routes this school year.
Putnam County School Transportation Supervisor Kim Bradford said her department has resorted to using mechanics and office employees to drive. Bradford said this has been an issue since school started and it is not caused by COVID.
“We have got no subs, we hire them, they come in and they leave orientation and they don’t come back,” Bradford said. “I’m not real sure what is going on, but this morning we were 10 drivers short.”
Bradford said Baxter has been the hardest area to staff. She said Baxter has been short three or four drivers since the school year started.
Bradford said the shortage has gotten worse recently.
“It’s worse since we had Fall Break,” Bradford said. “The drivers have called out more than what they did before.”
Bradford said a CDL license is not required to apply, and the school system will train and test potential drivers for free. Bradford said the time it takes to go from being an applicant to being a driver will depend on the person
“A lot of it depends on you and how soon you can pass the written test with the state,” Bradford said. “I’ve had people come through, pass all their tests, get all their hours. You’ve got to put in like 60 hours between driving, pre-trip and the basic controls, they get those in and they test out in three to four weeks.”
Bradford said applicants can apply on the Putnam County School System’s website. Bradford said the other requirements are passing a drug test, background check and receiving a DOT health card.