Hershey, Neb. (KNOP) - Across the United States and Lincoln County, school transportation is facing a huge issue. With low unemployment and a strong economy, schools are facing a shortage of bus drivers, which affects many people. For parents and students, the shortage can mean longer waits for a ride to school and more crowded buses.
Bus driver Duane Johnsen believes one factor is the inconvenience in the schedules that make it hard to have a full-time job. Johnsen said, "If you're someone that needs to make a full wage, you're just not going to be able to do it by bus driving. It's difficult to find those people because of that."
In some districts, school officials like Sutherland Schools Superintendent Dan Keyser have even had to fill in when help is needed. Keyser said, "I've got certified, the principals have got certified, and just adjusting to different ways."
Schools have had to offer incentives like increased pay and free training for CDL licenses to attract more drivers.
Hershey School's Superintendent Jane Davis says she understands the important role bus drivers play. Superintendent Davis said, "Bus drivers are the first and last people that our students see when they are on their way to school, so it's very important to have wonderful, caring bus drivers who love their job."
Although the incentives affect their budget, school officials say being able to hire great bus drivers, is the most important thing.