School bus driver shortage becomes problem in Union County

School Board Members set to discuss issues for parents and students in UCPS system. 

Sara Gunter, Staff Writer

Here in Union County there are over 10 public schools in the School System. This many schools means a high number of students, 31,000 to be exact. With that many schools and students comes a potential for problems.

At the monthly school board of education meeting commissioners sat down to discuss the many items that were of concern to the public.

Gary Sides, school board chairmen, voiced his concerns on a problem he noticed in the current school system. This problem being the school bus shortage.

“The Union County Public Schools Transportation Department currently operates 315 Regular Route School Buses. The buses are scheduled to run nearly 29,000 miles daily,” written on Union County Board Website.

Currently there are 16 vacancies and 8 drivers that are on family, medical leave of absence. This means there are 24 absences when it comes to school bus drivers in Union County.

Transportation Specialist for the Western Region of Union County Schools, Simone Sowell says, “these absences will be filled very soon. Our main priority is the students; we are taking the necessary steps in order to make sure each student is able to come to school in whatever means necessary.”

This means that the students are suffering in ways that the school board might not share. Jane Frankie, parent of a Union County Elementary School Student describes  how this is going to affect her student.

“My student has to get on the bus at 7:00 am over an hour early to get on the bus, she sits next to a student that has been on the bus since 6:30am. To me that’s ridiculous. There is a student that has been sitting on a bus for two hours before school starts in order to go to school.”

With growing concerns coming from parents, there are sure to be lots of comments and concerns prepared for the next meeting. The school board plans on discussing many problem and concerns in the upcoming meeting Nov. 1.


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