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Polson School District scrambles to hire bus drivers

Polson School Bus
Posted at 4:56 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 10:21:51-04

POLSON — The Polson School District is scrambling to hire bus drivers, facing a 30% driver deficit this school year.

“This year it seems to be impacting us a lot more and it seems to be more severe this year,” Polson School District Human Resources Director Scott Boen tells MTN News.

Boen said the school district is facing a major bus driver shortage, having to reschedule events constantly to avoid cancellations.

“We’re getting creative but we’re pushing the envelope on that and if drivers are out we don’t have anyone to cover for them, and we’re also short on substitute drivers,” said Boen.

He said the district has been struggling to hire bus drivers for years, though the impact is more significant this school year. “Small employment pool and a small town of Polson,” added Boen.

Boen said the district will train drivers to pass a CDL test and even pay them for hours spent training. He explained the requirements to become a bus driver are straightforward.

“A clean background check, driver’s license, and we will pay for training, will train you and we could use your help,” said Boen.

He said teachers, a principal, and even the superintendent have volunteered to start driving bus routes to make sure kids get to school.

“We’re to the point where teachers and administrators are having to get their license and get kids to their activities and sporting events,” added Boen.

Boen said the district is offering incentives for new bus drivers, including paying substitute drivers quarterly bonuses of $100 for working ten days, $200 for 20 days, and $300 for 30 days.

“If anyone is interested, please apply, you can make a difference in our student’s lives,” said Boen.

Information on how to apply to become a Polson school bus driver can be found on the district’s website.