Changes in how bus drivers are approved to drive your children across state lines are causing some Kansas school districts to have trouble finding enough people to drive the buses. One district is calling it an emergency situation.
The change came at the federal level and most directly affects doctors. But the fall-out is making things difficult for some Kansas districts that want their bus drivers to be certified to drive outside of Kansas.
Garden City is one of the districts having trouble finding enough people to drive under the new requirements. The district only has about 3/4 of the drivers it needs for some 2,500 students.
That's because the U.S. Department of Transportation's Motor Carrier Safety Administration now requires doctors who provide the medical certification for commercial drivers of big trucks and buses to get special training that concentrates on the dangers specific to driving a big vehicle.
That's changed what doctors are testing for which has slowed down the certification process for districts like Garden City. So, the district has contracted for drivers from First Student out of Wichita to fill in.
"He thought this was an emergency situation and so that's why he moved forward on this instead of waiting on the board to act," said Roy Cessna with the Garden City Schools about the decision to contract with First Student. "Just because of the length of time that the students were spending on the school buses, he wanted to reduce that time."
This new rule went into effect at the end of the last school year. Garden City Schools hope making bus driving a full-time position with benefits will attract the additional five to ten drivers they need.
The State of Kansas Department of Revenue handles the licensing of bus drivers. A spokesperson told Eyewitness News Kansas does not require schools to get the medical certification for interstate travel. That's a district choice.