SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A bus driver shortage at South Bend Community School Corp. is creating delays of up to an hour for pickups and drop-offs, school officials told WSBT.

Last week, about 20 bus routes needed to be covered by substitutes or transportation department employees, Superintendent Dr. Carole Schmidt told the news source. To reach working capacity, the district needs to hire at least 30 to 40 full-time drivers, according to WSBT.

Schmidt also told the news source that the shortage is the most severe she has ever seen, and delays are cutting into class time. She added that top priorities in addressing the problem include making the bus routes more efficient, offering more support for bus drivers and improving communication with school officials and parents to let them know about delays.

Additionally, Schmidt told WSBT that part of the problem is that the district's school bus driver pay, $13 per hour, is low compared to a nearby district that pays $18 an hour to start, and that the 10-week CDL training is extensive. Meanwhile, the district’s current transportation director is retiring this summer, and school officials are planning to hire a new director later this month.

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