'Back to School' Issues: Bus Driver Shortage & Starting After Labor Day

Sep 12, 2017

 A school bus driver shortage in New Hampshire, and nationally, is making it difficult for some kids to get to school. It's forced the Northwood district to struggle with the start of the school day, and the town of Wakefield to delay school for two weeks.  Then there's the question of when that first day should be: Governor Sununu set off a statewide debate recently, saying he thinks the first day of school should be after Labor Day - we examine that issue as well.   

 

GUESTS:

  • Dean Cascadden - Superintendent of Schools for the Bow and Dunbarton school district, SAU67.
  • Thomas McMahon - Editor, School Bus Fleet, a national publication.
  • Jason Moon - NHPR reporter.
  • Gov. Chris Sununu -  he recently proposed the Legislature consider adopting a law that public schools can't begin  until after the long Labor Day weekend.
  • Megan Tuttle - President, NEA NH.

In the first segment of the show we discuss the bus driver shortage:

Nearly one in four respondents to School Bus Fleet's survey of "Top 50 Contractors" report a severe driver shortage, and more than half said their shortage is moderate. No respondents to the question about the extent of their driver shortage selected “none.” 

Graph from School Bus Fleet's Top 50 Contractors survey.

Here's coverage by NHPR Jason Moon on the school bus driver shortage around N.H.

In the second segment of the show we discuss Gov. Sununu's idea that N.H. public schools should start after Labor Day:

Read the Union Leader interview in which Gov. Sununu proposed the idea that N.H.'s public schools should wait until after Labor Day to begin.

Scroll to read the NEA response to Gov. Sununu's proposal:  

Read how other communities around the U.S. have grappled with this issue:

The Atlantic: Why School  Still Starts After Labor Day in Michigan.

In Baltimore, the governor signed an executive order keeping schools closed until after Labor Day.

Some Virginia schools are starting before Labor Day, but others have taken advantage of waivers to start earlier.