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Waukee schools encourage parents to carpool, make back up plans in the face of bus driver shortage

"It's a system problem and we all need to work together to explore the options that we have available," said Iowa State Education Association president Mike Beranek.

WAUKEE, Iowa — Waukee Community School District is facing a problem familiar to many schools across Iowa—a severe shortage of bus drivers. Now, the district is asking for input from parents, and suggesting alternatives to riding the bus.

"We're in a crisis, with all of our employees across the state and the number of employees that we were able to have working in our schools, buses are just one part of that," said Iowa State Education Association president Mike Beranek. "And when a school bus is late, that throws the entire morning into a little bit of turmoil."

The district sent an email to parents outlining their response to the shortage and how parents can help. One option suggests families car pool, another suggests having parents talk to their employer about leaving early or being late to work. 

Beranek acknowledged some of those alternatives could be difficult for parents.

"That will be hard for parents to get their children to an activity before school or come after school to pick them up or to drive them to some event that may not be in that locale," he said. "And so it's a system problem, and we all need to work together to explore the options that we have available."

Durham School Services is the company that provides bus drivers for Waukee. When asked about this issue, Durham provided the following statement:

"Our drivers have worked very hard despite current challenges, and they will continue to stay committed to getting students to school safely, on time, and ready to learn. We are working tirelessly to minimize any delays and inconveniences caused to any affected families."

Waukee Community School District provided the following statement in response to a request for interview:

"Once the survey closes on Friday our transportation team is going to analyze it and determine if routes can be modified, changed, eliminated/added. Once we have information, it will help our focus on providing transportation."  

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