Just a few days before the start of the new school year, school districts all around the country are struggling with a lack of available teachers. One of the metro counties came up with a solution to cover the gaps. A substitute services specialist said 23 of Fayette County’s bus drivers have been employed as substitute teachers. Sixteen of them were substituted at least once.
Deborah Billups, the bus driver, spent nearly as much time in class as she did driving. “I was in the classroom every week, maybe two to three times a week,” Billups said. “The students were great.”
Robichaux claims that the district was able to handle last-minute call-outs and overnight absences owing to the drivers who filled in between their morning and afternoon routes. Robichaux was able to thank the drivers who filled in between their morning and afternoon routes. “We filled 146 positions that would not have been filled otherwise. So, there were some schools that had more than one bus driver in a single day working,” she said. “They really, really helped us out.”
Fayette County is currently grappling with its own vacancies. There are just eight days left before the first day of school, and the school system still has to employ many special education paraprofessionals in addition to 18 teachers and 12 bus drivers.
They would be in a lot more precarious situation if it weren’t for the bus drivers who were prepared to step in.
Billups points out that the schools aren’t the only ones benefiting from this. The hourly pay that the drivers get is the same as that of any other substitute teacher in the school. Just recently, the compensation rates for substitute teachers in Fayette County Schools were raised. Billups maintains that financial gain is not the driving force behind their actions.
The district wants to repeat this approach for the 2022–2023 school year, and it might allow for additional inventive solutions to staffing issues.