Pine Tree ISD Bus Driver Shortage Leads To Student Drop-Off Delays

It's 7:00am and Pine Tree ISD buses are headed out on their regular morning routes. The only problem is there's not enough drivers to transport East Texas students. "We really have a shortage presently, and certainly with the flu season hitting and personal illnesses, this week has been a pretty critical week. Today, we have nine drivers out. So, we are faced with doubling our routes and having drivers take extra time to deliver our kids to their house," said Pine Tree ISD Public information officer, Vickie Echols.

And it's those double trips that drove mother Debbie Scofield up the wall yesterday. She says the driver forgot to drop off her son before going back to pick the others up. "It was 45 minutes from the time my son should have gotten off the bus. I was told that there were some students who were left at school. If they had all that time, the school could have notified the parents that were effected."

"We definitely regret when a child doesn't get home and communication hasn't happened. Our administrators at the campus level are working really hard to field phone calls but, some times it doesn't happen, but we want to get better," said Echols. Getting better and hopefully getting more drivers, so parent like Debbie won't be left wondering and waiting.

"This is my child. This is not a piece of mail that I'm waiting to come. They need to let the parents know, so we're not sitting around worrying where the child is," said Scofield.

Pine Tree wants parents to know that they are hiring someone to answer phone calls at their transportation department--- that's for any parents concerned about their children's whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the district says they are in desperate need for bus drivers.

For information on how you can apply, go to out web site and click on "Know More On 7" and click on "Pine Tree Bus Drivers."

LaKecia Shockley, Reporting.