OBLONG, Ill. (WTHI) - On Wednesday morning school buses sat ready to go at Oblong's bus barn. But these days the problem is there aren't enough people to drive them.
Superintendent Jeff Patchett explains, "We've had several retirements. We've had resignations. So we've used our substitute pool and they're now full-time drivers."
State standards and low interest in becoming a bus driver has meant those substitute positions have gone unfilled. Now when a driver calls in the district has to use an alternative route.
Patchett says, "It's inconvenient. I know in my own household every morning, getting up and getting kids around to school and trying to get ready for work and so on that every minute counts."
Routes are combined to make sure every student is picked up. Meaning some students could be picked up early. But for one route in the afternoon...
Patchett says, "Getting on the bus here at 3:05 and they would not be getting off the bus until 4:15."
It's a long route that school officials don't want to do.
Patchett explains, "We don't have any other choice. It's not an initiative that we tried as a cost savings or whatever. It's people."
Pritchett says they need more people to step up. No matter how much time they have.
Pritchett says, "Call...or just come into Oblong. We'll pay for the course, well pay for the initial training, we'll pay you to train."
To contact Oblong schools: Click Here