Parents react to Cheatham Co. bus disruptions, cancellations due to driver shortage

A bus driver shortage caused the school system to cancel a bus route for two days this week.
Bus driver shortage in Cheatham County causes cancellation of bus route for two days this week.
Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 11:07 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Cheatham County School District made the decision to cancel bus routes for two days this week due to staffing issues.

Some parents say this will be a big inconvenience for them, especially finding out at the end of last week.

“It’s unfortunate that they don’t have enough bus drivers to complete all the routes everyday,” said Krista Kell, a Pleasant View Elementary parent.

Kell plans to drive her second and fourth graders to Pleasant View Elementary on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week after the school district cancelled their bus route.

“I’m lucky enough to work from home Tuesday and Wednesday to accommodate this but then I have to go pick them up at 2:45 p.m.,” said Kell.

The Cheatham County School District says bus route 53/21 will not run Tuesday and Wednesday because of staffing issues.

Single parents like Lacy Pendergrass, who works full-time, rely on the school bus as her children’s only mode of transportation.

WSMV4 talked to Pendergrass through her doorbell camera because she wasn’t home at the time.

“If I had to miss work to take the kids back and forth to school, I’d have to go in a couple of hours late and leave a couple of hours early, causing me some financial stress,” Pendergrass said.

Kell empathizes with those parents who don’t have the flexibility to change schedules.

“I’m not the only person affected, obviously, because they ride a full bus, so I’m taking another child in my car because we have to stick together. There’s nobody else to take the kids,” said Kell.

Due to staffing issues and as we continue to work out the logistics of covering bus routes, bus route 53/21 will not be...

Posted by Cheatham County School District on Friday, September 1, 2023

Kell said some of the district teachers have dual roles like driving school buses and teaching during the school day since there is a shortage of drivers.

This particular school bus route will impact Pleasant View Elementary, Sycamore Middle School and Sycamore High School. The school district apologized for the inconvenience asking parents to arrange another way for their children to get to school through a Facebook post.

However, parents like Pendergrass said her kids will unfortunately be absent.

“We’re only allotted so many per year and that’s why I’m going to make sure I notate it on the notes that I send with my kids to school on Thursday that the reason why they weren’t there was because there were no bus drivers,” said Pendergrass.

The bus routes are set to resume Thursday. So far, the district has experienced seven cancellations and several delays this school year and the academic year has only been in session for a month.

A bus driver shortage caused the school system to cancel a bus route for two days this week.

The Cheatham County School District sent WSMV4 this statement Tuesday, writing:

“The Cheatham County School District has been impacted by the shortage of bus drivers similar to many other school districts across Middle Tennessee and the nation. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience that our route closures have caused our families. Many of our bus drivers are routinely driving extra/double routes to help us avoid shutting down any routes. We continue to work diligently on ways to recruit and retain bus drivers, and we offer a number of incentives to encourage individuals to come drive with us.”

Here’s a look at the affected roads:

  • Patricia Drive
  • Randy Road
  • Randy Court
  • Joyce Circle
  • 1749 Highway 49
  • Triangle Road
  • Chamberlain Road
  • Goodsprings Road
  • Mt. Zion Road
  • Richland Court
  • Richland Trail Road
  • Bradley Bend subdivision
  • Woodson Road
  • Williams Drive
  • Pleasant View Main Street
  • Ellis Drive
  • Spangler Way
  • Eagle Way

The district said families will need to arrange other means of transportation to get their children to and from school on the affected days.