Breaking News
More () »

Bus driver shortage impacts Fayetteville High School Band

The bus driver shortage in northwest Arkansas stemming from the pandemic had left a high school scrambling to find a certified driver to take the band to state.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Finding school bus drivers is a challenge for school districts in Arkansas with some school districts trying to get by.

This problem almost led to the Fayetteville High School Band not attending a state competition.

“This is being felt by everybody,” said Fayetteville High School Band Director Brett Lawson. “We’ve kind of felt it a little bit in the past, but this year it just seems to be a bigger issue.”

On Tuesday, Nov.1, the band is set to take the field at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. The band performed in the competition four times in the past five years, only missing last year due to the pandemic.

When the students found out they earned their way back to the competition, they were excited. However, their parents found out their kids may not get to go due to a lack of drivers. Parents stepped up sharing the need for bus drivers on social media.

“The issue resolved itself due to our band parents," Lawson said. According to Lawson, within 36 hours the district found 10 to 12 drivers with driver’s licenses willing to get those students to Little Rock Tuesday when they only needed six.

“I always say that band parents can solve any problem in the world. And I mean literally, band parents are the best,” said Lawson. “We have an amazing group, doesn’t matter what it is they will just roll up their sleeves and we’ll get it done.”

Lawson says this year’s bus driver shortages have not been uncommon and says he is noticing an uptick this year, explaining how during regionals in Springdale many districts lacked enough bus drivers.

It resulted in them moving the competition from the evening to the middle of the day to ensure there were enough drivers.

“So, it was a little nerve-racking for a little bit, but I knew eventually it will work out,” Lawson said. “And now that it’s worked out, we’re ready to go.”

While this situation worked out, many districts are still looking for bus drivers…just to get kids to and from school.

RELATED: Local doctors discuss common pandemic misconceptions

RELATED: Washington Regional announces Aquablation therapy for BPH patients