NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WIVB) – The shortage of school bus drivers is affecting a number of school districts, including Niagara Falls.
This year, the City of Niagara Falls School District is introducing a staggered bell schedule. This means that the start times will be different for the elementary, middle and high schools.
“I see no other way to get around the shortage of school bus drivers,” says Superintendent Mark Laurrie.
In all, there are 45 bus drivers in the school district, but they’ll need nearly twice that number, Laurrie says ahead of Thursday when more than 7,000 students return to the district.
On its website, the school district has an appeal for drivers offering up to $24.75 an hour and up to $16 an hour for monitors. Drivers for the district do not have to work holidays or weekends and receive 401,000 contributions.
Buffalo, another large county, has also experienced some problems with bus transportation. Recently, Headmistress Dr. Tonja Williams’ address on the state of schools, in which she addressed Buffalo’s own difficulties in finding drivers.
Like Niagara Falls, they have implemented a tiered bell system, with different students starting at different times. In addition, they say they have hired more drivers.
Buffalo’s school year starts on Friday.
Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. More of his work can be found here and Follow him on Twitter.