School district’s transportation woes linger

by Chris Studor

Sept. 21 school board meeting

A shortage of school bus drivers continues to pose challenges for the Highland School District and, despite every effort being made to find new drivers, the number of drivers on the district’s payroll remains status quo.

“While we were able to find a few new drivers, we also had a few drivers retire so we are about the same as far as staff goes,” School Board president Chris Wolny told the Hinckley Record following the Sept. 21 board of education meeting.

The district had a beginning-of-the-year crisis when a large number of parents failed to notify the transportation department that their children needed bus pickup despite the district notifying parents to do so three times. As a result, on the first day of school, drivers faced an unexpected 20% increase in the number of students to pick up along their routes.

At the September board of education meeting, board member praised the transportation department for how it dealt with the unexpected increase.

“We have had a small decline in the number of students needing bus transportation and some parents have decided to drive their child to school to avoid long bus rides,” said Wolny. “That’s a bit of help but we are still facing a driver shortage just as other cities and states nationwide are facing.”

Wolny said he wanted district residents to know that the Highland offers competitive wages and benefits, and that the district advertises in all media forms.

In other Highland news, Theresa Wright, director of the Highland Foundation, announced that tickets are still being sold for the 19th Annual Great Gifts Dinner Auction. This year’s theme for the dinner is Honor Gala since the event will be held on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11 at Weymouth Country Club from 6-11 p.m.

 For tickets and more information, visit ∞