Barren Co. teachers & custodians step up as bus drivers during shortage

BARREN CO., Ky.-Kentucky is experiencing a massive bus driver shortage. 

“I’ve been a sub driver for several years and I’ve only driven periodically for somebody that would be injured or be out. But this year I’ve started from the front and wanted to help out,” said Barren Co. Schools head custodian and bus driver Derrick Williams. 

Barren County Schools knows the struggle firsthand. 

“In the past couple years there’s been a need and I just felt like if I had the ability to help I would,” said Barren County High School teacher and bus driver Todd Steenbergen. 

Their employees are stepping up…going above and beyond what they’re asked to do. 

“That’s probably two to three hours per day extra,” said Barren County High School Dean of Students and bus driver Scott Chapman. 

Two teachers and three custodians are driving bus routes to help ease the strain of the shortage. 

“We’re probably one of the few districts in the state, maybe even the country, where you have a very select few of certified staff willing to have a school bus,” said Chapman. 

This is a CDL, or commercial drivers license, which is required to operate large or heavy vehicles in commerce.

“Years ago I got mine to try to help out,” said Williams. 

“I’ve held my CDL since I started teaching,” said Steenbergen.

If they didn’t have the extra hands helping and driving, staff say they would have to double up bus routes, and kids would have to stay on the bus nearly twice as long…they want to make the experience as seamless as possible for their students. 

“To see them getting on the bus and off the bus, it’s just you’re the first person they see and the last person they see during the school day,” said Chapman.