School bus driver shortage impacting students in St. Charles

A suburban school district was not able to get a bus to some students for at least an hour Friday morning, and it is blaming the delays on a school bus driver shortage.

FOX 32 been reporting on the same problem in a number of Chicago suburbs since school started back in August and now the problem has arisen in St. Charles.

An unusually large number of school bus drivers either called in sick or had scheduled days off on Friday and that caused a ripple effect of significant delays in picking up students in the morning.

District 303 has 16 schools and 12,000 students — many of whom depend on bus transportation.

A number of routes were affected, with some students waiting for an hour to be picked up.


Once again, the problem is a shortage of bus drivers. St. Charles, like a number of other districts, has been hit hard by the shrinking workforce caused by the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the school district says they are constantly looking for help.

"It is getting very difficult. It is a long process to have someone trained to be a bus driver. It's about a six-week process. It's very expensive. It's a lot of schooling for them. But we do have really great benefits in District 303. It's a good job if you want to work a little bit in the morning and a little bit in the afternoon," said Carol Smith.

The good news is school officials were able to get the shortage problem largely fixed Friday afternoon. Only two routes were delayed for kids going home.