TA Cuts From Politicians in Raleigh Have Created a Major Bus Driver Shortage
The number of teacher assistants in public schools around the state has been on a steady decline in recent years, which influences not only the classroom but the number of bus drivers as well. Teacher assistants often play multiple roles at their school and with thousands of fewer TA there is no one to drive the buses. In Craven County they're looking to change their policies to force more employees to be drivers, and are even considering re-allowing student bus drivers!
“I think the biggest issue with the lack of drivers is we’ve lost between one-half and two-thirds of the teacher assistants who used to be our bus drivers,” Reaves said. “The issue for custodians is the overtime.”
In an effort to address the problem, Wendy Miller, assistant superintendent for human resources, said the school system cabinet is considering going back to requiring temporary teaching assistants to get their bus licenses within a certain time frame or they would not be eligible to come back the next school year. She said part-time custodians and cafeteria workers are encouraged to obtain a school bus license as well.
“You have those folks in your schools, they know the students, they’re already there and that would be the logical folks to help drive our buses,” Miller said.
At one time, 18-year-old students were eligible to work as bus drivers, but state rules no longer allow it.
Craven County Schools Superintendent Meghan Doyle said it may be a good idea to talk to legislators about changing the regulations.