LAWRENCE COUNTY, OH (WOWK) – With the school year just weeks away, counties across the country are preparing for another year of school bus driver shortages, including the Dawson-Bryant Local School District in Lawrence County, Ohio.

Right now, that district has only 15 bus drivers and zero part-time substitutes. That means if one driver has to take off, there are no substitutes to cover their route.  

Chad Scott, Transportation Director for the Dawson-Bryant Local School District, says bus routes will have to be put together and if only three drivers take the day off, they’re short staffed.

He says they are working to find ways to make the position more appealing, but it can be hard with the extensive training.  

“This is not easy to get into. They have to have their CDL, they have to go drive for the state, and the process is very long,” says Scott.

The superintendent for the district, Steve Easterling, says they’ve, “been working for last two to three years to try to get people to apply to be a bus driver and there are very few applicants if any,” and he pins the problem on the importance of the job.

“It’s a big responsibility to have 40 or 50 kids on a bus and your back to them and you’re driving the vehicle. I think the responsibility is very much a problem,” explained Easterling.

As of now, the district is having to make ends meet with the employees they have. They say because of how long the training process is, it’s not possible for someone new to join the team before the school year starts in August.

If the issue continues, after-school activities and extracurriculars that rely on school bus drivers for transportation could suffer as a result of the lack of drivers.

Easterling says they are still hiring and hope to get more drivers on staff as quickly as possible.