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'Their primary job is to drive the school bus': Union leader wants JCPS to fill open positions

Teamsters 783 President John Stovall said right now, JCPS is short about 225 bus drivers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One day after police said a teen was stabbed by another student while riding a Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) bus the union representing bus drivers is calling on the district to hire more drivers. 

Teamsters 783 President John Stovall said right now, JCPS is short roughly 225 drivers and the shortage is taking a toll. 

"We have some of the best bus drivers in the country, accidents alone prove that," Stovall said. "But it is hard to be a bus driver, a bus monitor and a security authority on the school bus. You can't do all three jobs and be great at it."

"Their primary job is to drive a school bus," Stovall said. "That's what it should be, but unfortunately, in today's climate and everything else going on, they've got a lot of hats they have to wear and that's unfair to them."

According to JCPS Communications Manager Mark Hebert, the ratio of kids per bus route is similar to pre-pandemic levels, which is roughly 40 kids per route. 

RELATED: LMPD investigating after student stabbed on JCPS bus

The district's school bus manufacturer's seating capacity is 66 students per bus.

Hebert said routes rarely have that many kids riding at once, but when they do, kids may have to sit three to a seat to fit. 

Stovall said having that many kids on board without an extra set of eyes is tough for drivers to manage and said it's causing a high turnover rate. 

"In a school setting, you have all kinds of other adults there and you have a security staff, but on most buses, you have one person," Stovall said. 

According to a WHAS FOCUS investigation, a spokesperson with JCPS says the district has used increased pay and incentives to JCPS employees who work other jobs to encourage applications.

RELATED: 'The verbal abuse is horrid': School bus driver for 20 years says students behavior could be driving the shortage

JCPS said the Louisville Metro Police Department is investigating Monday's school bus stabbing and their thoughts are with the student recovering. 

"That matter is still under review," JCPS Chief Communications and Community Officer Renee Murphy said. "Any time we have a circumstance whether it's a weapon on the property or a student injured it's a great concern to us."

RELATED: Two JCPS students from different schools found with gun on school property

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