LEBANON, TN (WSMV) - In Wilson County, no other school year has had as many disruptions as the 2020-21 calendar. COVID, quarantines, and weather have all been challenges for school systems.
There is now another area, and that deals with a shortage of bus drivers. Wilson County Schools is in "desperate need" of more school bus drivers.
With the school district growing, in addition to COVID-19 complications throughout the year, you can never have enough staff to help get kids to and from school.
"We just never had enough," Jerry Partlow, Director of Transportation for Wilson County Schools said. "Our school district is growing so fast we need to be adding bus routes. One month I had 34 people out either in quarantine or had Covid. The end result, an inconvenience to everyone involved.
"It inconvenienced their two parents so that is now 150 inconvenienced," Partlow said. "Plus our cafeteria has to hold breakfast for them. The ramifications quickly ramp up 600-700 people because we can’t run a single bus route."
On average, about 10 bus routes are down per day. Sometimes as many as 16 are down. "We've been doubling routes adding another bus route to another bus route and trying to get all these kids to schools as best we can," Blake Gish, Wilson County Schools bus driver said.
Partlow says the school system is creatively working to get some help.
"We are doing everything within our power to attract people," Partlow says, mentioning the finder fees and conversations around town he has asking people to consider driving.
"It was about four weeks and I got paid for all that training," Gish said. "And the day I got my license that afternoon I was on a route making the starting wage for a bus driver."
If you would like to apply and are interested in an opening bus driver position, call (615) 444-3282.