Lufkin ISD Addresses Bus Driver Shortage, Issues Due to Pandemic
Lufkin ISD began classes on August 12 and transporting students to their respective schools has been quite the undertaking. LISD Administration knows that this has been a headache to many and in a statement today, officials acknowledged that they would like to thank parents and students for their patience as the district navigates a nationwide bus driver shortage due to the pandemic. The trickle-down effect from this shortage is long waiting lists, doubled-up routes and all employees on deck who have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
“We are doing everything in our power to assist our students and resolve the driver shortage issue,” said, Wayne Grissom, Lufkin ISD Director of Transportation.
Some buses have empty seats from parents registering their child but not sending them to ride the bus every day. Officials with LISD are asking that if a parent has registered their child, that they send them every day to ride. Administration is also requesting that if a student has other means of transportation to school besides the school bus, please take advantage of that transportation to provide seats for students who are without a way to get to and from school.
Lufkin ISD is not able to provide virtual learning this year due to the state’s mandates, which means all students must return to in-person learning. With more students in the classroom, there is a greater need for more room on the bus.
“With so many vacancies that need to be filled, we have had to consolidate several routes into one, which has significantly increased ride times,” said Grissom.
Currently, there are 23 bus drivers and 4 substitutes for 45 routes.
“We are working diligently to provide solutions to ensure that the process for registering for transportation is seamless. Unfortunately, we do have waiting lists at this time but we are not dealing with a local issue here. It’s across the nation. The pandemic has diminished the workforce pool in the service sector, and our school systems are feeling the brunt of it,” said Daniel Spikes, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services.