School bus driver shortage continues for MSD

MEDFORD, Ore. —With the school year in full swing, one local district is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers. The Medford School District says the issue has only been heightened by the pandemic.

The Medford School District says the pandemic impacted its drivers greatly. It’s had to get creative, like having fewer stops and relying on parents to drop their kids off. Prior to the pandemic, it had 100 bus drivers. Once students returned to the classroom it was down to half that number.

This school year, the district has 60 drivers, but still hopes to reach 90 by the end of the year. The district says 60 drivers is enough to cover home-to-school routes, but it strains other activities, like field trips or athletic trips.

There are fewer stops, we are squeezing field trips in the middle of the day or afternoons when the buses are back, athletic trips we’re renting coaches from out of town,” said Assistant Superintendent of MSD, Brad Earl.

The school contracts out to First Students for the drivers. It offers a $3,000 signing bonus, and $21 an hour to drivers.

To be a bus driver you have to have a commercial driver’s license, and participate in training.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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