Driver resigns, bus no longer running in Clay County, WV

[image] Carol Hager loading groceries into her car.

A bus driver unexpectedly resigned in Clay County, WV and now more than a dozen students don't have a ride to school.

Carol Hager has five kids ranging from elementary school to high school. She said as of now there is no bus available to get her kids to school.

"When you have to sit here and take them at this time and at that time and then get used to this and that it gets confusing," Hager said.

Because of the terrain in Clay County the school system has what are called contract routes. Those are routes that regular school buses can't get run. The county pays individuals to pick up students on those routes in smaller four wheel drive vehicles.
Hager's kids depended on one of those contract drivers to get to school. But when a driver resigned suddenly at the start of the semester it left them and several other kids without a ride.

"I'm a working mother," Hager said. "I am trying to make sure that my kids needs are all met and stuff like that and I just don't think its fair."

Clay County Superintendent Kenneth Tanner said it will take several weeks to get a new driver. They have to post the position, receive the sealed bids and award a bid. Then the driver with the winning bid must have the vehicle they will use inspected and insured. The driver also has to complete 40 hours of training. Tanner said it is possible they'll have to go out and recruit people to fill the position.

"People struggle every day," Hager said. "But it makes it very difficult trying to make money to make sure your kids are there."

Clay County does offer payment for parents in Hager's situation. But she said she has to wait several months sometimes to get that money. Tanner said the county only has to offer those payments to parents who take their kids more than two miles, but the county opts to pay parents who have to travel more than one mile. 

(RELATED STORY: Bus driver shortage causes problems in Kanawha County, WV)

Tanner said the county is doing the best they can and have one of the best student attendance records in the state. He said two routes in the county have been discontinued because of the low number of kids riding and budget concerns. Those routes have been consolidated with others causing some students to arrive at school either very early or close to the morning bell.

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