Bus Shortages Across Counties

by Taran Barr, Reporter

In the Central Kitsap School District there is a district wide bus shortage which causes transportation issues for parents and students. Especially at Central Kitsap High School where our school is already overpopulated with one thousand four hundred students. 

This bus shortage creates traffic because now parents who have to work, they have to drive their kids to school before work which creates more car traffic because everybody is going to drop their kids off at the same time. It isn’t as easy as just dropping their children off at school, for some parents they have to arrange their schedule around at work so they aren’t late and that means their availability changes. 

In order to address the situation, The CKSD is so desperate for bus drivers that they are offering a $3000 bonus to anybody that can drive a school bus. 

According to the Kitsap Sun,

“For the first time, the Central Kitsap School District is offering bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 to attract applicants. New hires with a Class A or Class B Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with passenger and school bus endorsements are eligible for a $3,000 hiring bonus. Those without a CDL and who apply and enroll in training by Nov. 1 can get $1,000. Drivers must pass all training and tests and commit to working for the district for one year to qualify for the incentives, according to CKSD.”

In the North Kitsap School district there are usually forty-five-forty-eight drivers and then two-three substitutes; the district is currently looking to get three more regular drivers and five more substitute drivers. The impact of bus shortages across the districts has impacted bus routes and inconvenienced many parents, kids, and bus drivers. 

According to the Kitsap Sun, North Kitsap School District spokeswoman Jenn Markaryan said,

“The North Kitsap School District typically has between 45 and 47 regular drivers and two to three substitutes. The district is now looking to hire three regular drivers and five substitutes.”

“The district’s transportation department is assessing all routes to identify changes that impact the fewest North Kitsap families, which may include bus route changes or requesting families to transport students or carpool,” said Markaryan. 

The bus shortage, district wide, not only impacts school related issues but also extracurricular like sports. It is hard to find bus drivers to drive a bus full of student athletes to far away games and even in district games.

I think it would benefit several districts if they offered more benefits to bus drivers such as better insurance or healthcare so that kids will have transportation to and from school and extracurriculars.