Fayette County considers using van service to deal with bus driver shortage

The proposal is to spend $440,000 to help stop the bus route cancellations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – At its meeting Monday night, the Fayette County Board of Education was given a proposal from the school district to spend $440,000 with an outside vendor to provide a van service to help stop school bus route cancellations brought on by the bus driver shortage.

Under the proposal, the school district would contract with the National Association of Pupil Transportation Collaborative to provide van service for students on some routes that serve smaller groups of riders, according to the district.

As required under state law, all drivers would be required to go through the same background check process as district employees and contractors, according to the district.

If approved by the board, the pilot program would begin with a few carefully identified routes in January, using up to ten vans, according to the district.

“Like school districts across the nation, Fayette County Public Schools has been impacted by the ongoing bus driver shortage. Throughout the first semester, we have kept our community informed about efforts to address this challenge, which have included new recruitment strategies, higher salaries for bus drivers, attendance incentive pay, and a prescheduled rotation of bus cancellations.  As we shared in September, the district has also explored sharing drivers with other agencies that employ CDL drivers, adding a fourth tier of school start times, and contracting with outside vendors. We are excited to bring forward a proposal to the Fayette County Board of Education this evening that has worked successfully in other school districts in the country,” said district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall.

The board is expected to vote on the proposal at its meeting Dec. 13, 2021.

In other action taken at Monday’s meeting, the board voted 4-1 to reject the construction bids to build a new middle school on Polo Club Boulevard as the cost of the project rose 50-percent from what was originally budgeted.  The dramatic cost increase school officials say is due to a big increase in construction material costs and supply chain challenges.  Board member Tom Jones was the only dissenting vote at Monday’s meeting.

At its Nov. 15, 2021 meeting, the board voted to postpone indefinitely the new middle school project.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson noted the Tates Creek High School construction project is 72-percent complete.  The new school is slated to open in July 2022.

The board also voted to:

  • Approve a contract with Edgenuity to provide Odysseyware for Fayette County schools.
  • Approve several new and revised job descriptions to strengthen and streamline the supports provided for schools by the FCPS district office team.
  • Institute an attendance incentive for classified hourly staff.
  • Approve the annual external audit conducted by Strothman and Company. The school district received the highest audit opinion possible — an “unmodified clean” opinion, according to the district.
  • Accept the Monthly Financial Report for October

The school board’s action meetings are televised live on the FCPS YouTube channel.

Meetings are archived through the FCPS YouTube channel and Video on Demand service.




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