LCPS feeling bus driver pinch

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 18, 2017

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Parents in L’Anse Creuse Public Schools last week received notice that, due to challenges with bus driver staffing, some routes will be delayed from time to time.

In light of that, district officials have developed a messaging plan that will allow them to notify those parents whose children’s stops are directly affected on any specific morning or afternoon.

Kelly Allen, L’Anse Creuse’s director of public and community relations, said this is the time of year when more illnesses can occur. Thus, because the district is currently staffed with 65 full-time bus drivers, it experiences a pinch when a driver calls in sick.

“We don’t have a shortage; we have enough, but just enough to get by. We have enough to make sure the routes are being covered,” Allen said. “But if four or five drivers get sick, that puts us in an interesting situation. We need a little bit of that cushion.”

Allen said the district is looking to hire seven full-time bus drivers as well as substitute drivers. The hourly rate starts at $14.88.

“L’Anse Creuse has been experiencing challenges with bus driver staffing,” the Jan. 9 notification reads. “This is an issue that many school districts throughout the county and state are experiencing. While we are doing the best we can, there is the potential for a delay in student pickup or drop-off. To ensure that students are not standing out in the cold, we will send a message directly to parents of the students affected in a timely manner.”

Those messages will be sent via an automated phone call, text and email, depending on what information the district has on file. In addition, students who are late arriving to school because of a delayed bus will not be marked as tardy.

L’Anse Creuse Public Schools is comprised of nearly 11,000 students, and buses transport students to the district’s nine elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools. Allen said Career and Technical Education students as well as the math, science and technology program students utilize the bus service for transportation from their home high school to the Pankow Center, which is  located in the same complex as the administrative offices, the Performing Arts Center and the bus garage.

Bus drivers also transport school sports teams, choirs and other extracurricular activity students to away games and competitions during some weekends during the school year on a volunteer basis.

Allen said current contract negotiations with the bus drivers and their union, Support Services Employees Local 1594 AFSCME Council 25, AFL-CIO, have not had an affect on the number of employees.

“It’s been a challenge for us since before negotiations started,” she said.

“Basically, we wanted to give the parents a heads-up about the situation and get the word out there to those who may be interested in a bus driver job,” Allen said. “Of course we want to get students to school safely and on time, but mostly safely.”

For more information about applying for a bus driver position, call (586) 783-6300, ext. 1213, or look under Employment Opportunities at www.lc-ps.org.

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