The South East Cornerstone Public School Division is in need of bus drivers; an issue that is affecting school divisions across the country.
Andy Dobson, Manager with Facilities and Transportation with the division, said that there are struggles with retaining drivers for rural routes, as well as having a pool of spare drivers.
"We actually have bus driver shortages right throughout the school division. I talked to my colleagues at other school divisions, and they're facing the same thing, I think it's actually a national issue. It's more of our rural routes around Weyburn, some issues in the Fillmore, Radville and the Gladmar area."
Dobson elaborated that for their urban routes in the City of Weyburn, they don't have a spare list to draw from when a bus driver is sick, for example, so they are generally unable to backfill those routes.
There are difficulties with driver retention, Dobson explained, "people are retiring, they have health issues, or they decide to further their education and need to make that a priority or getting other jobs within our system, or finding other employment alltogether."
Last August, he said, they held bus driver recruitment fairs in Carnduff, Moosomin and Radville where they recruited and trained about ten drivers. Dobson mentioned that in June of this year, they are going to be holding a bigger bus driver recruitment fair in Weyburn, Estevan, Moosomin and the Carlyle area.
"So hopefully we can get the spare pool up to where it needs to be. We are also struggling to have drivers to provide charters for the students for day trips into Regina or other areas for further educational opportunities."
"Most of the drivers right now are mothers with young children," Dobson said, and "we allow them to have their children on the bus when they’re driving the route, which saves them childcare costs." As well, he said that they provide $500 bonuses for their current drivers after six months on the job.
For anyone interested in becoming a bus driver, Dobson said they do provide training for them, "they can get their S endorsement (through SGI) and we would welcome them on our team."
Dobson added they'll never turn down an interested driver, and they have step-by-step pamphlets available at the division office to become a part of their team, or click here for more information.