With bus driver shortage, Lee’s Summit schools make schedule changes to get kids to class

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Alarms are sounding a little earlier for some Lee's Summit students, so the school district is getting a little creative to make sure everyone can get to class on time.

A shortage of bus drivers forced the Lee's Summit School District to make what it calls some minor changes to start times and class schedules.

Superintendent Dennis Carpenter said the district was nearly a dozen drivers short all of last school year. This year he said the shortage is even worse. The district is still hoping to hire drivers to fill 18 positions.

"When that happens, it's all hands on deck," he said.

That means everyone employed by the district who can legally drive a bus is doing so right now.

So the district is using a three-tier schedule. Drivers first pick up high school students and drop them off at school. Then they make a second round to pick up middle school students, and elementary school kids board buses on the third trip of the morning.

Carpenter said this new system is actually more efficient than past transportation plans in the district. And so far, parents seem to be OK with the changes.

If you're interested in applying to be a bus driver, Carpenter said you'll receive full benefits, including health insurance, even though bus drivers don't work a full 40-hour week.

If you're hired, Carpenter said the district can have you trained and driving a bus in 3-4 weeks as long as you're able to pass the tests to get a commercial driver's license.