CCPS facing transportation employee shortage

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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Clark County Public Schools (CCPS) faces what some district officials call a critical shortage of transportation personnel.

Donald Stump, the district’s administrative director of operations, briefed the CCPS Board of Education on the dire situation during a special-called board meeting last week.

“Over the summer months, we have lost eight drivers, and we have advertised those positions for months now and have received zero applications,” said Stump. “We have two bus mechanics that have resigned … We have one that had a pretty serious surgery who is out for eight weeks. That has us down to one mechanic. We have posted those jobs now for a month with zero applications [received].”

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And due to the staff shortages, there is a real chance that routes may be canceled when school starts in August.

In a phone interview with the Sun late last week, Stump said that if the district does have to cancel routes, eight subdivisions will be affected and that the district will practice what Fayette County Schools did last year regarding canceled routes.

“Fayette County scheduled a program by which they would cancel routes based on driver shortages, and they would rotate those routes that they canceled across the district so that the same area was not canceled all the time,” Stump explained.

Given the disparity in size between the two districts, Clark County would have to be judicious in the routes it might choose to cancel on any given day.

The district’s preschool transportation will be one of the first things the shortage will affect if route cancellations occur.

“We get absolutely no money for transporting our preschool students. Our board has done that as a good faith effort for our families. We target families in our preschool who are in poverty or have a child with a disability,” Stump explained about the district’s over 15-year old program.

If the shortages continue, the district will have to ask parents or guardians to provide transportation for preschool students.

So why is the district have trouble retaining transportation employees? Stump said that the biggest issue is pay.

Clark County currently offers bus drivers a starting salary of $14 an hour. Surrounding districts provide more money and, in the case of Fayette County, have installed air conditioning on buses.

The other issue has been attendance issues that have led to overcrowded routes, which has led to increased driver stress due to discipline issues with students.

“Some parents have complained that this creates a safety issue,” Stump said.

Regardless of the issues that led to the shortage, the district has a new incentive plan – passed by the board last Monday – to retain its drivers and mechanics.

“We are looking at quarterly bonuses. If they [employees] keep working for us, we will throw them a little bonus to incentive continued worked in the district,” Stump said.

According to the plan approved by the board last week, employees will receive a $1,200 bonus paid out in $300 quarterly allotments if an employee fulfills 98 percent of their contract. They will also receive a $500 re-signing bonus each year once they complete 60 working days. The district also plans an intensive recruiting campaign and will give any existing employees a $500 referral bonus for recommending a hire who completes 60 working day