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Arkansas school districts seeing bus driver shortages

Districts in our area don’t have enough school bus drivers to run their routes and get their students to school.

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. — The school year is quickly approaching and while COVID restrictions might not be as much of a hurdle this year, schools are struggling to fill positions, especially bus drivers. 

Local school districts said that bus drivers are the heartbeat of the district. They start the day with the kids and get them to and from school. Trent Jones with Springdale Schools said they are in need of ten more drivers and that alone determines how hundreds of kids will get to school. 

While it’s easy to focus on the negative effect this shortage is having, Jones wants to focus on the positives and the impact these bus drivers do and can make in hopes to encourage others to become school bus drivers. 

“Bus drivers set the tone for the district because they’re the first face you see and the last face you see. So being able to see that same person every day, build that personal relationship knowing a lot of our bus drivers call them my kids that personal connection is really what makes this position such a critical point in people’s lives. It sets the tone for the whole district,” said Jones.  

 According to Shane Patrick with Siloam Springs, they’re short nine bus drivers right now which is the shortest of drivers they’ve ever been. He said school bus drivers make a difference and impact students’ lives, in fact, he still remembers his, Ms. Jones. 

“She always told us we get off the bus you know I’ll be right here waiting on you in the morning don’t be late and you know it was her way of saying she loved and cared about us and it really gave you that one more person I was able to connect with in the school system that allowed me to have that another adult in my life that was a positive influence,” said Patrick. 

It’s because of this that Patrick encourages people to consider applying. Patrick along with a few other administrators are currently getting CDL licensed to help if needed. 

We reached out to Van Buren as well who tells 5NEWS they too are in need of drivers and would love help. Fort Smith said their routes are covered but it never hurts to have more drivers. 

If you are interested in applying to become a bus driver for your local school, applications are accepted throughout the school year and part-time positions are also offered. You can check your school district’s website for more information.

Listed below are links to the schools in need of bus drivers:

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