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Article updated: 10/26/2013 6:04 PM

District 15 officials working to solve bus driver shortage

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Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials say they are working to remedy a bus driver shortage that has caused occasional delays in morning drop-offs and afternoon pickups since school started.

The shortage resulted from some drivers being released for safety violations and from attrition, said Superintendent Scott Thompson, who could not say how many minutes buses were delayed as a result of the driver shortage.

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The district currently has 139 drivers, 16 fewer than the 155 drivers the district has targeted. Eleven drivers currently in training will be assigned routes after they have completed that training, which includes additional safety instruction, Thompson said.

Also contributing to the hiring delay was the recent government shutdown, which caused a backlog in background checks performed by the FBI, Thompson said.

"We're doing everything we can," Thompson said. "We're actively seeking out new drivers, but we won't put them behind the wheel of a bus until they're fully qualified. We won't shortchange any safety requirements."

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