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Driver Absenteeism Affecting Unit Five Bus Service

Emma Shores

Unit Five Schools officials, parents, and students continue to grapple with bus issues. At least twice in the last week, more than a dozen bus drivers have called in saying they could not show up for work. This has delayed some students' arrival at school by more than two hours.

"This is a problem, big problem," said Superintendent Mark Daniel. 

Daniel says he has told bus contractor First Student to bring in more drivers from places like Edwardsville to make sure they have enough. He says First Student may end up having to pay drivers more to ensure a contract and an adequate supply of workers.

Daniel says it does appear some of the bus overcrowding issues that lead to previous delays have been addressed. However, absenteeism is still an issue. 

"We're now seeing a consistent pattern in regards to the number of drivers who are calling in or not available. That is now a major issue we need to examine," said Daniel. 

Daniel calls performance by First Student "unacceptable." While overcrowding issues may have been addressed, he acknowledges that on at least two days in the last week some buses have also continued to run two hours late.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.