Kane Area School District faces bus driver shortage

Ted Luzt
Staff Writer

There's a statewide and national shortage of qualified school bus drivers.
The Kane is among the school districts facing this problem.
"It's a concern," Kane School Business Manager Jessica Gabriel said Thursday in discussing the shortage of school bus drivers. She said the positions are becoming "harder and harder to fill."
The school district has three school bus contractors-- Shane Wilson of Coudersport, Karlene Enterprises of Kane and Scott Sanders of Hamlin Township.
Gabriel said the contractors operate 11 buses on a regular basis-- plus others for out-of-town sporting events.
Speaking at a Kane School Board workshop at the administration building, Gabriel said the annual cost for regular school bus service is $600,000. State aid covers $400,000, but the district must pick up the remaining cost, Gabriel said.
According to Gabriel, a total of 985 school district students were eligible to ride school buses last year. The school district covers 243 square miles, she said.
As Gabriel pointed out, school bus drivers must meet certain qualifications and training standards. They also undergo background checks and physical examinations.
Gabriel said all buses are equipped with interior cameras and radios to assist the drivers.
Substitute drivers also are desperately needed, Gabriel said.
For more information, call 837-9570, extension 1205.