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Baldwin County public schools face bus driver shortages as students return to class

By DAESHEN SMITH

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    BALDWIN COUNTY, Alabama (WALA) — Bus driver shortages have put a strain on the Baldwin County Public School System.

“We have several open routes we cannot fill because we don’t have certified drivers to fill those routes,” said Tony Pollard.

Transportation Coordinator Tony Pollard says they are short about nine routes. Most of which are in Bay Minette and Foley which creates another problem.

“If those routes were spread throughout the county it wouldn’t be as hard, but when it hurts a feeder pattern then that definitely causes a domino effect with all the schools because normally the routes service more than one school,” said Pollard.

So far the school system has used sub drivers and in some cases double runs to make sure students get to school. Drivers picking up extra routes has caused buses to run late every once in a while. The school system is helping to train potential drivers after they get their CDL and other paperwork.

“We can get you trained. We’re not just going to throw you on a bus because you went and took a test,” added Pollard. “You’re going to work with our trainers and you’re going to work with our state department.”

The school system finished a state training class in December. They’re hoping to get more drivers signed up in time for the next one to ease the strain on students, parents, and the drivers they already have.

“It’s going to help our drivers. We need our drivers to feel safe and comfortable. And we need our students to know that they’re going to be picked up at a certain time every day,” said Pollard.

Pollard says the next class is scheduled for February. If you’re interested, you can visit bcbe.org for more information.

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