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Bus Driver Shortages Continue At Sacramento-Area School Districts

ELK GROVE (CBS13) - Months into the school year, the alarming shortage of school bus drivers is still ongoing.

Some parents in the Elk Grove School District now say their kids aren't getting home until late into the evening. The district is just one of many dealing with this issue.

In Elk Grove, the transportation department bus yard is full of school buses but parents say there are few drivers to fill them.

"It was bad and covid hit, and then it made it worse," said Cochiti Rico in Anatolia.

On Friday, she says her son called at 4:30 p.m. after the bus didn't hadn't shown up and he needed a ride home.

"He was there along with a couple dozen students. They were still stranded.  This is almost two hours after school ended," she said.

So how bad is the bus driver shortage, now? Elk Grove says the district is still down about 35 drivers.

Working parents CBS13 spoke with say they can't pick up their kids after school.

"We don't have an option for them to walk or to bike," said Rico.

Elk Grove Unified is just one of many dealing with the issue.

A nationwide survey shows more than half of America's school districts are reporting their driver shortage is "severe" or "desperate."

Roseville, Rocklin Unified, Folsom Cordova Unified, San Juan Unified, and Sacramento City Unified are also still facing shortages.

In Sacramento, 90 percent of the buses are for students in special education.

The district has lost more drivers than they've hired since the start of the school year with 79 drivers for 84 routes.

And with so few applicants in the pipeline, districts say this driver crisis could continue for the rest of the school year.

"It takes two, three hours for them to get home, it's not reasonable," said Rico.

Some districts are offering incentives to drivers. San Juan Unified is offering up to a $2,000 signing bonus in their first year of employment until routes are filled.

Folsom Cordova Unified starts their bus drivers at $20 an hour and will train them.

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