Boone principals stepping up to help with bus driver shortage

Douglas Clark
Douglas Clark
Douglas Clark is LINK nky's Boone County reporter

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Boone County Schools is anticipating receiving reinforcements to address its school bus driver shortage – in the form of school principals.

Deputy Superintendent Eric McArtor said at Thursday’s Boone County Schools Board of Education meeting that several school administrators are in training and will be hitting the roads soon.

“Some of our principals have volunteered to become bus drivers,” McArtor said. “They’re taking classes currently. One of them is probably going to be starting on Monday. What he’s doing is trying to help with the double runs that we have at his school.”

A double run is when a bus driver has completed a route and is then sent out to pick up more students. 

When double runs occur, students have to wait longer in the morning for pick up or stay after school in the afternoon – resulting in unpredictable schedules, officials said. 

Ryle High School Principal Matt Shafer, Ryle High School Assistant Principal Cody Ryan, Burlington Elementary School Principal Andy Gatewood and Ockerman Elementary School Principal Chris Ritzi are all in training now and will begin driving buses next week, McArtor said.

Twenty-four school bus drivers are needed to eliminate driver double runs, Boone County Schools Transportation Department Director Nick Greer said.

“One concern that has been brought up by many of my peers is the problem with buses,” Boone County Schools Student Board Member Representative Youssef Saidi said. “Many people in this county experienced double or triple runs or they may be late to school.”

Principals will finish their day at school and then go down to the bus loop and take a double run group home, McArtor said.

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McArtor commended the school district’s bus drivers for their efforts.

“I want to thank our bus drivers for all of their work for the first month of school and getting kids to and from school every day under some difficult situations,” McArtor said. “They’re an amazing group of people.”

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