GROVE CITY – Grove City Area School District officials are trying to get creative in handling staffing shortages in the transportation department.

Student transportation has been a struggle, mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch said at Monday night’s school board work session.

That has created challenges for busing – one bus was running nearly an hour behind on Monday – and other transportation needs.

One example is being able to provide transportation for students who have been displaced from their home district because of an emergency.

If those students end up living in the district temporarily, they are still allowed to attend school in their home district, and need a way to get there and back, Finch said.

There aren’t enough people to go around to help cover those routes, so the district is working with the labor unions in looking at current district employees who are eligible to drive a district-owned vehicle, like a van.

Employees could be paid at least $25 to drive short runs, or an hourly rate if it’s over 40 minutes, he said, adding that employees will be getting a survey to gauge interest.

Some of those employees could include part-time cafeteria workers, or the custodians who work the evening shift.

The district is also looking at buying another van, hoping to find one with less than 60,000 miles for under $21,000.

And regarding the buses – the state has made lists for each school district of people in their area with CDL licenses, Finch said.

The district can reach out to those individuals to see if they’d be interested in driving a bus. The district’s bus company, Monark Student Transportation, could help them take the steps needed to drive a bus.

“People are trying to steal drivers off of each other,” he said of how it’s getting competitive.

Maybe Monark can reach out to local businesses that employ CDL drivers to see if they’d be willing to fill in, said Ryan Thomas, the board’s vice president.

“I’m just throwing ideas out there,” he said.

The board’s voting meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 8 in the board conference room. It will also be available via Zoom. For the agenda and connection information, visit www.grovecity.k12.pa.us

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