Warren County schools’ growing bus driver shortage worsens

WCPS offering $2,500 sign on bonus to vet CDL drivers

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Warren County Public Schools is facing a growing and growing bus driver shortage…. one that only worsens as more students enroll. But, they’re not alone.

Melanie Edison has driven students in Warren County Public Schools since 2011.

“It’s wonderful being a bus driver. I love it. Love it, love it, love it.”

Ever since Covid-19 struck in 2020 though, Edison started seeing less and less of her colleagues behind the wheels.

“Covid has really hurt bus drivers, because everybody said, ‘Oh, kids are carriers [of the virus]. We don’t want to be around children’, but we need bus drivers bad,” she said.

WCPS Director of Transportation Chip Jenkins confirms that since the pandemic, they’ve been losing bus drivers.

“They currently probably have around 22 to 25 routes that we need filled for the fall,” he said.

Jenkins says WCPS employed 213 bus drivers in 2017. Today, they only employ 161 drivers, losing 52 employees. Over those same five years, the district gained roughly 2,500 students.

“Statewide, we just had our Kentucky Association of Pupil Transportation meeting, and we probably had about 15 to 20 districts in attendance. They’re all suffering the same fate,” he explained.

Jenkins says this isn’t just a WCPS issue or even a Kentucky issue. Schools across the nation are all on the hunt for bus drivers.

Now that the pandemic is winding down, Jenkins says he’s optimistic that people will see the opportunities that driving for WCPS offers.

“[WCPS has] a good family atmosphere. We have some great programs out there for new drivers. If you’re a new driver that has no CDL experience or anything like that we put you through the driving program.”

New drivers can look forward to a $500 bonus. and veteran CDL drivers who become WCPS bus drivers can earn a $2,500 sign on bonus. Click here to apply as a WCPS bus driver.

Bowling Green Independent School District Director of Operations Cedrick Browning confirmed their district is looking to fill 12 total openings for bus drivers, substitute bus drivers and bus monitors/driver assistants. Currently, the district has 32 drivers. Click here to apply as a BGISD bus driver.