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Gowanda Central still seeking drivers

GOWANDA — The bus driver shortage is still an issue for the Gowanda Central School District.

At its most recent meeting, the Gowanda Board of Education highlighted the shortage of bus drivers and how it has impacted the district so far this school year.

Currently, Gowanda has 10 bus drivers, but that figure includes mechanics covering bus runs. One board member highlighted how asking mechanics to cover bus runs could become an issue in asking employees to do a job they did not expect when hired. The same board member later credited her own daughter’s bus driver in the district for their positive attitude.

Another avenue the district is exploring is asking district employees with a commercial license if they have an interest in driving a bus for extracurricular activities, including sporting events.

One board member highlighted how at a recent football game, the football team was bussed to the field at Pine Valley Central School, but the cheerleaders were asked to find transportation for themselves. The board is aware of how that could be perceived as a Title IX issue, as well as a possible liability risk depending on the sign-out guidelines.

Multiple members of the board also highlighted how challenging it is to compete with pay rates offered to other drivers. The district is looking into a more competitive pay rate, along with other perks that could be offered to entice new drivers to come forward.

The board also highlighted the need to advertise the need for drivers in more ways, including hanging banners locally to express the need. Any qualified commercial licensed driver is encouraged to apply with the district.

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