Seward Public Schools drops bus route, rural districts see issues hiring support staff
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Seward Public Schools is asking people to be bus drivers with a bus parked on the front lawn of Seward High School.
“We’ve been short for over a year, and so, we’ve been advertising for bus drivers,” said Josh Fields, the Superintendent of Seward Public Schools. “We ran a story in the Seward County Independent and still not any luck.”
Pay bumps and ads in the local paper have not driven interest, causing the district to consolidate bus routes, dropping from 14 routes to 12. By law, school districts are required to bus students who live four or more miles away from school.
“By courtesy, we were providing transportation to about 10 families that were within the four miles,” said Fields. “Because we had to consolidate routes, we no longer had room for those students on the buses.”
Rural districts like Seward, Waverly and Norris said support staff is becoming harder to come by. Waverly Superintendent Cory Worrell said the district is always looking to hire more paraprofessionals and custodians.
“It’s just a hard position to fill and we are not getting as many people to apply for those jobs,” said Worrell. “I don’t think we’re unique in that situation. A lot of school districts are going through the same thing.”
The Seward Public School district currently has 10 drivers who can run their morning and afternoon routes and are hoping to hire two to four more for that position. Fields said if things don’t change, the district’s transportation system will have to.
“It’s not looking great,” said Fields. “Do we look at going to centers with our local communities like picking up at Garland and Staplehurst? Obviously, if it gets bad we offer to pay mileage to our parents. We’re luckily not at that point yet.”
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