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Lewiston Public Schools facing bus driver shortage

The superintendent said he is short three bus drivers and many more van drivers.

LEWISTON, Maine — As students prepare to return to the classrooms in Lewiston next week, the district is running into a problem.

"Being short this many drivers and having social distancing components, it's made it a real challenge," said superintendent Jake Langlais.

Lewiston Public School Superintendent Jake Langlais said he is short three bus drivers and many more van drivers. Specifically, for Connors Elementary School.

"Which is a large elementary school. We just don't have enough buses to run at that time to bring all the kids at once," said Langlais.

The district uses Hudson Bus Lines. NEWS CENTER Maine tried to reach the company Wednesday, but no one got back to us.

Langlais and school committee members talked about the issue during a meeting Tuesday night. They discussed having students who live less than 8/10 of a mile from school walk, but that idea didn't sit well with some members.

"It doesn't make me feel good having to have these little kids walking in the downtown areas to walk here," said school committee member Tanya Whitlow.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Langlais believed he had a better solution. Buses will make a double run to and from Connors Elementary School.

"The first three buses that are loaded will make a drop-down the road in a short proximity. They'll come back and get in the back of the line of the other four buses and get a second grouping of students," said Langlais.

Langlais said while some instruction time may be lost, this plan allows all kids to get to and from school safely.

Langlais said it can be tough to find bus drivers during a normal school year. He believes compensation and benefits is what is leading to shortages.

Langlais said if you are interested in applying for a position, you can contact Hudson Bus Lines.

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