Williamson County approves over $2 million for school buses amid driver shortage

school buses
The Williamson County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of 21 new school buses on Jan. 13, 2020. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The Williamson County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of 21 new school buses on Jan. 13, 2020. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The Williamson County Board of Commissioners approved the spending of $2.03 million for the purchase of 21 buses for Williamson County Schools at its Jan. 13 meeting.



The purchase comes at a time when the school system is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers, according to WCS Superintendent Jason Golden.



“I’ve been sent emails and also photographs of buses where students are standing due to a lack of bus drivers,” County Commissioner Keith Hudson said during the meeting. “I would like to know what we are doing to recruit more bus drivers because we are getting into a safety issue with the children standing.”



Golden said bus driver recruitment was not only a challenge in Williamson County but also throughout Middle Tennessee and in many metro areas across the country.



“We were in a crisis about two-and-a-half, three years ago where we couldn’t even, with delays, serve all of our students, and you all, as a commission, helped us do a significant pay raise for drivers. It actually helped us avert a crisis,” Golden said.



Golden said there were currently bus drivers assigned to every route, but they were short on substitutes to cover for drivers who get sick.



“We recruit at job fairs, we recruit directly, every opportunity I get when we talk about drivers with our families, I tell them, ‘If we had about 15 or so more drivers to cover those sick days, we’d be fine. Do you know somebody?’” Golden said.



Golden said bus drivers and substitute drivers receive full health benefits and make about $18 and hour. The school system also provides $10 an hour for those who wish to train to become a bus driver for the county, Golden said.



Of the 21 buses being purchased, 14 are replacing existing buses that have aged out, six will accommodate growth in the school system and another will be used as a bus for special education students.



The buses are expected to be in operation in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year in August.



MOST RECENT

Screenshot via www.tn.gov
No decision yet on extending Tennessee's stay-at-home order as April 14 deadline approaches

New models show cases could peak by May, but only if social distancing continues.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Tennessee State Board of Education approves emergency rules to amend graduation requirements

A new set of requirements will be put in place for graduating seniors.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance are increasing across the nation in the midst of COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock) (Courtesy Fotolia)
Tennessee residents have filed nearly 250,000 unemployment claims in past three weeks

The state typically receives fewer than 10,000 new claims in a three-week period.

The new filing deadline for the Hall Tax is July 15. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Tennessee extends Hall Tax deadline to July due to coronavirus

The new filing deadline for the Hall Tax is July 15.

The stay at home order for Franklin is intended to slow the spread of the virus and has to be renewed every week. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Franklin renews state of emergency declaration and stay at home order

The stay at home order for Franklin is intended to slow the spread of the virus and has to be renewed every week.

Rabbi Joshua Kullock and Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson participated in a Passover tradition April 8 while practicing social distancing guidelines. (Courtesy Metro Nashville)
Nashville Jewish community prepares for Passover amid social distancing

Local religious leaders are urging parishioners to continue social distancing through the holidays.

(Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
ROUNDUP: Coronavirus updates across Metro Nashville

Here are some recent Nashville-area stories readers may have missed.

Human trials for new drugs could begin as soon as later this year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center working to find COVID-19 treatments

Human trials for new drugs could begin as soon as later this year.

The United Way of Greater Nashville announced April 7 a second round of funding to 27 local nonprofit groups helping individuals and families negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. (Lindsay Scott/Community Impact Newspaper)
United Way sends over $500,000 to Tennessee nonprofits

The United Way’s COVID-19 Response Fund, in partnership with Mayor John Cooper’s office and local partners, has raised just over $3.6 million since its inception

Restaurants all over the county are closing or offfering curbside and delivery services. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
ROUNDUP: 5 coronavirus stories Nashville-area readers may have missed

Here are five coronavirus-related stories readers in the Nashville area should know about.

(Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Cards of Care in downtown Franklin converted to small food pantry

The box, which usually holds cards, now has food for those in need.