Clayton County asking parents for patience in school bus delays

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Clayton County school leaders are asking parents to be patient as the district struggles with school bus delays and driver shortages.

In a news release to parents Friday, Clayton County, which needs about 40 more bus drivers to fully staff bus routes, said it has put administrators to work driving buses, assigned extra routes to current drivers and is working vigorously to hire more bus drivers to solve its on-time performance and make sure all students get to school.

Parents also were asked to use the Edulog Parent Portal App to track the locations of buses.

School systems across metro Atlanta have struggled with bus driver shortages in recent years. Districts initially struggled because of low pay and competition from Amazon, MARTA and other businesses that offered employment alternatives. The pandemic exacerbated the problem as drivers feared contracting COVID-19 and left the field.

For school systems, that has meant searching for hundreds of drivers again this year, from Henry County to Cobb County. For instance, Fulton County has a total of 800 bus driver positions, including nearly 200 that the district was looking to fill in the days leading up to the first day of classes last week.

“The CCPS Transportation Department, like other school districts in the Metro-Atlanta area, is still faced with driver shortages,” Clayton County Schools said in the release. “As a result of staff shortages some routes may be delayed while picking up or delivering students to and from school or their residences.”

The district said it also is working to get the Department of Exceptional Students assigned to a bus route.

Staff writer Vanessa McCray contributed to this story