JSD 117 Buying Small Passenger Vehicles to Transport Students In Attempt to Combat Bus Driver Shortage

By Benjamin Cox on October 22, 2021 at 5:59pm

Jacksonville School District 117 is looking at some alternative busing methods in the near future. The school board voted Wednesday night in favor of purchasing two smaller passenger vehicles for a cost of approximately $120,000.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says it will alleviate the need to have Commercial Drivers Licensed-drivers and they can find other licensed drivers to transport students for the district: “Given the bus driver shortage throughout the state, given the requirement to provide daily transportation for our students to school, we have to think outside the box on ways that we can maximize our personnel to provide required transportation. These vehicles will allow individuals with a lesser license than a CDL to transport students to school in an emergency that we need their use, but with a driver’s license an individual can transport students to sporting events or activities, which we definitely faced the possibility of having to cancel some sporting events this Fall. Yes, this is a reaction. This is a response to the transportation shortage and the dire situation that districts throughout the state are facing.”

The vehicles will hold 10 passengers or less. Ptacek says the plan is to transport students on smaller teams and groups to events to free up CDL-bus drivers to perform their duties in the district. Ptacek also believes that using the smaller vehicles is more economically vialble and more efficient for the district’s needs.