Niagara Falls CSD switches to tiered start times with bus driver shortage

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The shortage of school bus drivers is impacting a number of school districts, including Niagara Falls.

This year, Niagara Falls City School District is implementing a tiered bell schedule. That means start times for the elementary, middle and high schools will be different.

“I don’t see any other way around this school bus driver shortage,” Superintendent Mark Laurrie says.

In all, the school district has 45 bus drivers, but they need nearly twice that, Laurrie says ahead of Thursday, when more than 7,000 students return to the district.

School bus driver shortage plagues first week back to class

On their website, the school district has issued a call for drivers, offering up to $24.75 per hour, and up to $16 per hour for monitors. Drivers for the district don’t have to work holidays or weekends and get 401K contributions.

MORE | Click or tap here for information on applying.

Buffalo, another big district, has seen its fair share of struggles with bussing, too. Recently, School Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams gave her State of the Schools address, in which she addressed Buffalo’s own difficulties finding drivers.

Like Niagara Falls, they’ve implemented a tiered bell system where different students start at different times. Additionally, they say they’ve hired more drivers.

Buffalo’s school year starts Friday.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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