Too many bus drivers serving a Maine elementary school called off on Monday, prompting the school to cancel classes.
The unprecedented closing was a first for Kermit S. Nickerson Elementary School near Belfast, superintendent Mary Alice McLean told Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
“We don’t intend for it to happen again,” McLean told the network.
But, the district is experiencing a critical shortage of substitute bus drivers, according to local reports. Even with positions starting at $20 per hour, the job that requires training and child management isn’t attracting applicants, Bangor Daily News reports.
In 2017, a survey of the nation’s 50 largest school bus operators reported driver shortages. Twenty-two percent called the shortage “severe,” and 5 percent said they are “desperate” to find drivers, according to a School Bus Fleet magazine survey. Not one of the companies surveyed said there is no shortage.