DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Parents are having to adjust after learning they might need to pick their children up from school due to bus driver shortage.
“I got a text message on yesterday 12 o’clock,” parent Kimesha Bennett said.
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It’s a notification many DeKalb County parents say they were not prepared for.
“They were telling us that the route bus 816 will be delayed for 20 minutes,” Bennett said.
DeKalb County Schools Department of Transportation says they’re having to make a modification to bus routes, citing a bus driver shortage as the contributing factor a day before the first day of the new school year.
“You’re dependent on the bus to take your kid on time and bring them back home on time,” Bennett said.
Bennett, a DeKalb County parent to three students, says this year she plans on picking up and dropping off her children to avoid these types of delays.
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“They’re excited to go to school and I’m excited that they’re excited,” she said.
In the notification she received, it said her children’s bus route was delayed 20 minutes because of a bus driver shortage.
Other parents tell us they weren’t given a specific time frame.
This is a message alerting a parent their students’ bus will be “Extremely Late.”
“When you have more than one appointment or a job, you rely on the bus to pick up your kids on time, and if not, you’re going to be late for work, and everything else in between,” Bennett said.
“You don’t have enough drivers to support the number of kids that we have because it’s not enough safety precautions for drivers,” one bus driver noted.
We brought you concerns last year from DeKalb County bus drivers about the shortage.
“It’s becoming very difficult, even to survive,” a driver said.
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Drivers told us then COVID-19 concerns, low morale from overworked drivers, and issues with overcrowded buses are reasons why retaining drivers is difficult.
“You might have two schools on one bus at a time, and I know that from experience,” the driver said.
DeKalb County schools is one of the many metro area districts who’ve provided hiring incentives to boost recruitment.
Bennett says she appreciates the transparency from the district and hopes it’s not an ongoing problem.
“It’s just what it is at this point,” she said.
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