It's more than three weeks into the school year and the Washtenaw Intermediate School District is still looking to add permanent bus drivers. Finding enough school bus drivers is a lingering issue.
Substitute drivers and retirees continue to fill in on about 20 routes for Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Community Schools. The Washtenaw Intermediate School District provides bus service for both districts. W-I-S-D Spokesperson Emma Jackson says retired bus drivers can't be relied on for the entire school year because they can only work limited hours. "That's something we're certainly watching closely and we want to make sure we're not jeopardizing anyone's retirement. We are looking into some other options and when those are fully explored we'll probably have more news for you," she says.
Jackson says the W-I-S-D is in negotiations with the state to secure long term drivers. Recently hired drivers are still in training and will be able to take over some of the routes.
Drivers hired by the W-I-S-D work 20 to 25 hours a week in split shifts, starting at $13 per hour.