(12-13-22) Schools are facing a new ‘pandemic‘ and it is not COVID related. School administrators are facing shortages with transportation issues, a lack of bus drivers…plus a shortage of substitute teachers.

Today in Southwest Michigan, Edwardsburg Public Schools, cancelled school ‘due to a shortage of transportation drivers ‘. Students in Ohio’s Reynoldsburg district have had to learn remotely one or two days a week this year because staffing shortages forced bus service cuts.

According to a story in Education Week

Why aren’t there enough bus drivers? :

  • Driver positions are frequently underpaid and undervalued compared with similar jobs with non-public institutions.
  • Driving a bus full of young children with no other adults on board can be taxing and even dangerous, deterring people from applying.
  • Working conditions have led drivers to strike (most recently, in places like Du Quoin, N.C.; Franklin County, Tenn.; Livingston Parish, La.; and Socorro, Texas.)
  • Older drivers may be wary of being on the job while COVID-19 is still spreading.
  • Community outbreaks of COVID, flu, and the RSV respiratory virus are causing further disruptions this fall.

There has been a shortage of substitute teachers in Ohio and nationwide since 2019. According to WOSU, Ohio had nearly 16,000 licensed substitute teachers in 2019. That number dropped to roughly 5,000 in 2021, and hasn’t grown much since. A significant number of substitutes are former retired teachers.

Locally-

Julie Garke – St. Henry Schools Superintendent

The legislature has tried to assist schools with the issue of substitutes for teachers.  We appreciate the efforts they have put forth with this and would like to see those relaxed requirements become permanent.  We also are in need of substitute bus drivers and are happy to answer any questions of people who would like to become a substitute.

Marion Local Schools Superintendent – Mike Pohlman

Yes, there is a shortage in both substitute teachers and bus drivers across Ohio. Recently we implemented some pay structure changes for both bus drivers and sub teachers that has helped a little. With legislation passing to allow individuals with a HS diploma the ability to sub teach, has been helpful in our district. We are encouraging legislators to make this a permanent solution because we have seen very positive impacts from this change in law.

Celina City Schools Superintendent – Dr. Ken Schmiesing

There is no secret that we continue to run short on the number of substitutes needed for all of our positions. The job market is still pretty good for those looking for full time employment, so this lowers the number of people available for us to fill our substitute positions. A common question we receive from those who are interested in helping us as substitutes is if the substitute position is an everyday position for them to fill, if it is not, then they are not interested. The Celina City Schools Board of Education have increased our substitute pay scale rates and these increases are effective in January.

We are so thankful for all of the wonderful people who are able to help us!

RELATED:

Proposal would force TAs, custodians to drive school buses in Nash County to address driver shortage