Peel District School Board asking for more money for bus drivers

The Peel District School Board is trying to convince the provincial government to open up the wallet, and hand over more money to pay for busing students to school.

The problem? A lack of bus drivers in the region.

As a matter of fact, the board is short 70 drivers, which means there is as a many as 150 routes without a full-time driver.

And that's causing delays ranging from 20 minutes, to an hour at more than 50 schools.

Board Trustee Janet McDougald says the problem is the job itself.

"It's an interesting position, because it is part time and it's a divided day and you're not making very much money. I guess they are voting with their feet."

She says the province should spend more on driver salaries, to retain people and keep kids going to school.

"If you're 45 minutes late everyday, that's 45 minutes of learning in the classroom that you are missing." says McDougald.

The province responded to NEWSTALK1010's request with a statement:

We know the Peel DSB is experiencing driver retention challenges, and that it has been causing concern and frustration in the communities they serve. That's why we recently we announced an additional $60 million over the next two years for a new program that will directly support the recruitment and retention of school bus drivers in communities across the province. The Ministry will continue to work with school bus operator associations to implement this initiative. This increased funding is on top of the $12.6 million increase we provided to school boards at the beginning of the year for increased student transportation costs.

Prior to the school year, the Ministry also proactively asked that all boards have contingency plans in place when driver shortages occurred and that expectation remains. As part of our long term solution, we have been conducting an engagement for a new vision for student transportation in Ontario. This engagement will focus on how transportation services can be improved to best support the goals of the education system now and in the future. We are committed to continuing to work with all of our student transportation partners, and the Peel DSB to strengthen Ontario's student transportation systems