SINCLAIRVILLE – Three bus routes at a Chautauqua County school district were canceled due to a bus driver shortage.
The Cassadaga Valley Central School District notified parents on Sunday night that students who ride buses 181, 182 and 187 would need to bring their child to school, and then pick them up afterwards, or the student would need to attend class remotely on Monday.
Superintendent Charles Leichner says the perfect storm unfolded with a planned absence, a general illness and an emergency family situation impacting those drivers respectively.
“Because of the circumstance in our region, and here in our school district, with a shortage of drivers and substitute drivers we had everyone that could drive driving and we were still short those three drivers,” explained Leichner.
Around two-dozen students, he says, were impacted on both the middle/high school and elementary routes. As for Tuesday, the Superintendent is working with others in the district on finding a solution.
“I anticipate that we will be at least one driver short, so it is my goal to meet with our transportation folks and determine what impact that will have tomorrow,” continued Leichner.
Efforts on both state and federal fronts are underway to address the bus driver shortage, including from Governor Kathy Hochul and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, which the Superintendent says is helping to speed up the hiring process for now.
“If folks have a CDL they also have to get that endorsement for passenger carry, they (government leadership) have just fanned the flame,” said Leichner. “We do have some folks as a result of that, here locally, that we are working with but they still have to go through the process.”
Leichner says this is not a new issue for the district, with the school facing substitute teacher shortages as well. He understands the pressure the lack of transportation brings to parents and apologizes for the situation.