The Lafayette Parish School System has hit a roadblock. The LPSS Director of Transportation Bill Samec is having trouble hiring school bus drivers. Samec says the driver shortage has turned into a critical situation.
Samec says he needs to recruit about 15 to 20 substitute drivers. It's from the substitute pool that Samec hires his permanent drivers; but there's another concern hitting him head-on. Every school year the system loses about 10 to 12 bus drivers.
"So that pool of 30 will be depleted by whatever resignations and retirements that we have. It's imperative that we replenish that pool."
The recruitment efforts haven't been successful. Out of four applicants Samec says he was only able to hire two of them. "At this point I have staff members driving buses every day. I only have so many of those. So, when that runs out we're really up against it."
The plan is to make a U-turn back to the school board. Samec wants permission to suspend the High School Diploma or GED requirement for the position; for a period not to exceed 6 months. "I'm hoping that if the board approves that agenda item we'll open up that substantial pool of people who we can attract and become bus drivers."