Thank you for your patience as we navigate through our transportation issues. I wanted to take a moment to assure you that the administration, Perry Board of Education, and OAPSE union leadership are working diligently to resolve our bus driver shortage.
This shortage occurred when five of our bus operators resigned after accepting positions at a neighboring district. This left us no wiggle room if any of our remaining drivers needed to call off work. The delays we experienced on Thursday and Friday were a result of not having enough substitutes to fill in. We do not expect this to be a regular occurrence; however, this will continue to be a possibility in the coming weeks until we successfully retain more drivers. In the meantime, we will continue to adjust our schedules when needed. If this occurs, we will be sure to communicate the adjustments with you as soon as possible. During days that we are short-handed, we will allow for early drop off at all buildings. I would like to thank our entire staff for stepping up to ensure our students continue to be taken care of.
We are confident we will be able to replace the bus drivers we lost; however, it takes multiple weeks to train and prepare new drivers. To assist with this, our board of education acted quickly by holding an emergency meeting on November 1st to discuss new bus operator substitute rates and other incentives to help us through this situation. We presented a Memorandum of Agreement to OAPSE adjusting the negotiated agreement to obtain new drivers. The board will meet again this Wednesday, November 8th, to vote on approving the proposed changes to the OAPSE contract.
We are grateful for our current drivers’ dedication and willingness to take on more while we work toward a solution. In addition, we have a few former bus operators that have stepped-up to help. Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 440-259-9200 ext. 9299.
Dr. Jack Thompson