UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Utica City School District Superintendent Bruce Karam has called on Governor Kathy Hochul to step in with the National Guard to help with the districts bus driver shortage.
“We need some type of temporary relief somehow,” Karam said. “To keep us going. I want to keep us open so this request is to do that.”
Karam sent the governor a letter earlier this week requesting temporary help. The bus driver shortage is not unique to Utica, the shortage is happening across the country, and Massachusetts has deployed members of the national guard to assist communities.
I used the national guard as an example if that could be done,” Karam said. “Because they are doing that in Massachusetts and it’s just to help us get through the next few months until Durham bus company, our third-party busing vendor, can hire more drivers because they are critically short drivers right now.”
Durham School Services, the third-party bus company, used by the Utica school district has seen a 50% decrease in drivers, with the drivers remaining doing triple runs a day. Keeping schools open is the district’s main priority.
“You know keeping the doors open in light of this covid pandemic and you know the bus company is trying to hire more bus drivers so that’s what lead to the request,” Karam explained.