NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/FOX24) — School districts in Northwest Arkansas are needing to fill some positions ahead of the school year. One thing schools need more of is bus drivers.
Drivers pass by ‘Hiring Bus Drivers’ signs in Fayetteville, Farmington and Rogers.
“For many years now finding bus drivers has been an issue for school districts all around Northwest Arkansas,” said Superintendent Maribel Childress with Gravette School District.
Childress said her school district was all set and ready to go for the new school year, until this week.
“We were fully staffed with bus drivers until this week and we’ve had a couple of resignations this week so we are back looking for bus drivers again,” she said.
Roger Hill, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for Rogers School District, said they have enough drivers to handle the routes, but the district needs more backup drivers.
“So for us if somebody is sick and to have a sub and a margin there is really important for our parents and students so we have consistency of time,” he said.
Fayetteville Schools Bentonville Schools confirmed over email that they also need more drivers.
“We’re taking the precautions we can, such as distanced seating, to keep drivers and students as healthy as possible while on a bus,” said Bentonville Schools spokesperson Leslee Wright.
Rogers and Gravette Schools also have other positions they’re in need of filling.
“We have an after school care program, It’s not required but it’s a service our parents really appreciate,” said Hill. “So we need some more help in terms of that after school supervision. We also need subs for elementary school classrooms, high school classrooms and middle school.”
“We’re also looking for a speech pathologist and a maintenance person with a specialty in electrical work,” said Childress.
Despite all these setbacks, educators are prepared to roll with the punches.
“There are no more creative people on earth than educators so our plan ‘A’ is always to be fully staffed but we have plan B,C, and D ready to go,” said Childress.
Even though we are getting closer to the start of the school year, both Rogers and Gravette Schools say it’s not too late to apply for any of these positions.