Driver shortage could lead to bus route suspensions for Anchorage students, superintendent says

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Aug. 5—The Anchorage School District is short 75 bus drivers with only two weeks left before classes begin this fall.

The shortage could lead to some bus routes being suspended, the superintendent said.

It was not immediately clear which routes could be impacted or how the district would decide where to pause services, if needed. Special education transportation services are not expected to be interrupted, Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt said in a message to families on Wednesday evening

The district generally operates with about 240 to 250 drivers but struggled during the last few years to hire bus drivers amid a broader shortage of workers, an official said last year when the district enacted route suspensions because employees became ill with COVID-19 or were showing symptoms. A school district representative was not immediately available Thursday to talk about the shortage.

The district hopes to incentivize people to apply for the job by offering additional bonuses for new and existing employees — bus drivers will receive an extra $2,500 and bus attendants could receive up to $500 more for the first semester of the year, the message said.

Updates and route information will be available on the district's website.