Northeastern schools close because of bus staff shortage

The Northeastern Local School District closed Wednesday because of a staffing shortage affecting busing, according to a post on the district’s website.

“Today’s staffing shortage affects our transportation department for various reasons,” said the district’s communications representative, Steffanie Stratton.

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Transportation was stillprovided for Global Impact STEM Academy, Catholic Central and Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center (CTC) students.

Northeastern High School students who attend those schools had to be at the campus by 7:10 a.m. Wednesday and needed to be picked up at 3:15 p.m. in the afternoon.

Transportation for the Kenton Ridge High School students in those schools ran normally.

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With students being out of school, it will be used as a calamity day and assignments will be treated as they would for a snow day or any other weather-related closure, Stratton said.

In a later update, Superintendent John P. Kronour said that the school plans to only cancel one or two bus routes in the event of bus driver shortages, rather than cancel school.

In those instances, the school would ask parents and guardians via email, text and posting to the website to take their children to school, but if that is not possible it will be counted as an excused absence and the child won’t be penalized.

“We hope never to have to use this plan, but we wanted to make you aware of our procedures for the future,” Kronour said.

Kronour also asked for community help to identify bus driver candidates, saying that the district is seeking a floating bus driver.

No other details surrounding the closing were available.

Several area schools recently were still struggling with busing shortages. District are hiring for both permanent and substitute bus drivers, with starting wages between $13 and $23 per hour, depending on the district.

Northeastern is one district that has been dealing with the same issues as others when it comes to the bus driver shortage. When there isn’t enough drivers, the district either has to split routes or divide them up, or in some cases like this, close school.

In Butler County, Hamilton City Schools sent parents a message that said it is seeing a shortage of school bus drivers and warned parents afternoon bus routes may be delayed.

“We anticipate considerable delays in drop-off times and apologize for the inconvenience this may cause,” the notice said. “The issue will primarily affect our elementary school bus routes.”

The district’s message also said it would ensure all students are “delivered home safely.”

Bus driver shortages are a national problem, according to Axios. It reported a survey from HopSkipDrive at the beginning of the current school year revealed 88% of districts have constrained transportation because of a lack of bus drivers.

A whopping 67% of respondents to the survey said recruiting new drivers is the biggest woe, followed by bus driver pay and retirements.