Shortage of bus drivers causing delays, problems at many Minnesota schools

- School districts around Minnesota are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers this year, causing problems for students trying to get to school or home on time. The lack of drivers is especially affecting the Eastern Carver County School District.

“The driver shortage is affecting many school districts,” Brett Johnson, Director of Communications for Eastern Carver County schools, said.

Over the past couple weeks, Johnson said 16 bus routes out of more than 100 have experienced "significant delays" in pick-up and drop off times within his district – “it’s unacceptable,” he said.

On Thursday morning, a bus was about an hour late to Chaska Middle School East, leading parents to share their concerns on social media.

“We are directing those frustrations at the bus company to fix the issues that come up because we don’t want to see this,” Johnson said.

The bus company in question is Positive Connections in Chaska. Johnson said the company has been under contract with the district for several years. In a statement to Fox 9, the general manager said they’re working with the district while working to alleviate the driver shortage.

Positive Connections said they have several driver applicants in training and will ensure they’re properly qualified and trained before driving a route.  But parents, just as much as district leaders, don’t want to see late buses anymore.

“I think yes we look at the driver shortage that’s affecting many school districts, but at the end of the day it’s about taking care of our parents and our district and that’s what we want to see,” Johnson said.

A representative from the company said they have 100 drivers, but would like to see about 15 more on staff. District leaders plan on meeting once again with the bus company on Friday.

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