Federal Changes To Commercial Driver’s License Training Will Impact Bus Driver Shortage
By Mike Scott
“We don’t know all the ramifications,” Clark County R-1 School Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht said. “But anything that makes it more difficult to get a CDL will make it harder to recruit but drivers.”
“Basically, we’re going to have to hire someone, a person or a company, to train our bus drivers,” Kracht continued. “A big question for us is if they leave and drive for someone else, could the school be liable if they were in an accident, because they weren’t ‘trained properly’? Lawyers are always going to go for the deepest pockets.”
Transportation was the major issue on the agenda at the school board’s meeting on Monday, October 14. The district’s fleet of buses carry approximately 653 students 1391 miles per day. In the 2018-2019 school year, bus mileage totaled 234,872.
A shortage of substitute drivers, along with difficulty replacing drivers top the list of transportation concerns. Other issues state transportation funding, the cost of bus replacement and repairs, fuel costs and the condition of county roads. Issues affecting students directly included length of time on the bus, student behavior, and number of stops requests for each student.
Kracht also reported that the Middle School boosters were seeking to replace the scoreboards in the Seyb Gymnasium. Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri has agreed to pay for the new scoreboards.
In other business, the board:
-Approved overnight trips for FFA state and national conventions, and for the state cross country meet.
-Approved updates to a number of policies. Among those policy changes are that the district will stock Narcan to administer to students, staff or visitors in emergency opioid overdose situations; and MOCAP, which requires the school district to pay for online classes taken by home schoolers.