Driver Shortage Strands Some Wake County Special Education Students

Sep 2, 2019

Credit Wake County Public Schools

Some special education students in Wake County are still waiting for a ride to school due to a shortage of drivers.

The Wake County Public Schools system contracts with vendors to provide transportation for students with special needs who can't ride traditional buses. But last week, as most students were heading back to class, roughly 300 special education students were left without transportation to or from school.

Student Transportation of America says the problem arose after an unexpected number of driver absences. Wake County Schools officials reported some students missed school as a result.  

Special Education Transportation Director Dee Luttrell wrote in an update to parents that school officials are helping the vendor recruit and hire new drivers as soon as possible.

The district's 7,000 substitute teachers have been invited to apply as temporary drivers, and some school staff who work flexible hours might be asked to fill in. 

Administrators hope to have transportation available this week. Parents who have provided their own transportation in the interim may be eligible to apply for mileage reimbursement. The district will issue guidelines on how to file for reimbursement in the near future.