Logan Co. system is in the "worst shape" ever for school bus drivers; shortage has led to doubling up routes, routes that take more than an hour

News Democrat & Leader, Russellville, Aug. 25, 2017

Logan County school district in need of more bus drivers

By OJ Stapleton

School bus drivers may very well be probably the biggest group of unsung heroes in the educational system.

The men and women who are charged with safely delivering students to and from school provide an invaluable service to the community.

Unfortunately, as with many unsung heroes, there simply aren’t enough of them.

The Logan County school district is in dire need for school bus drivers right now.

“It’s statewide problem — it’s not just us,” said Logan County schools transportation director Chris Rippy. “We’re in worse shape now than we’ve ever been.”

Rippy said there are currently 45 drivers covering the county’s 57 routes. Ideally, he would like to have 15 more drivers working for him. That would allow for all the current routes to be filled with a handful of substitute drivers to fill in when the need arises.

“We had several drivers retire last year and that has caused us to have to double up on some of our routes,” Rippy said.

In a perfect world, no school bus route should take over an hour, Rippy said. Unfortunately, that’s not possible right now with drivers having to do more than just one route.

“We are very fortunate to have so many outstanding drivers who care about the students they transport. They are true professionals who have a lot of responsibility and do a terrific job each day for the district, said Logan County schools superintendent Paul Mullins. “We are appreciative of the parents with their support and understanding as I know the shortage has caused some challenges across the county. Mr. Rippy and his staff have worked tirelessly to get back to a full staff and they will continue to do so until we are back to 100 percent.”

Rippy echoed Mullins sentiments about the current group of drivers that transport students every school day.

“The drivers we have do an excellent job. Especially as shorthanded as we are,” Rippy said.

New bus drivers start out at $14.88 per hour, based on working four hours a day, five days a week.

To apply for a bus driving job, you just have to fill out an application through the Logan County schools website, www.logan.kyschools.us.

Applicants do not need to have a CDL in order to apply.

“We will train anyone that wants to become a bus driver and they will get get paid for the time they are training,” Rippy explained.

Applicants with be trained for at least 33 hours of classroom time and nine hours of hands-on training.

The whole process from start to finish can be completed in as few as three weeks.

“Finding quality bus drivers is a priority for the district and we will continue to work to fill all of the vacancies,” Mullins said. “I have confidence in Mr. Rippy to make that happen for our district.”

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