Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Durham School Services won't serve four bus routes each week, leaving families to find alternatives on short notice.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A row of buses sits outside a garage in Scappoose in 2015.Durham School Services, the contractor providing bus services for the Scappoose School District, has announced that it will not be able to pick up all students because of a shortage of drivers.

Buses will skip four routes each week.

The week starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, buses won't pick up routes 2, 8, 10 and 13. The following week, starting Monday, Sept. 13, Durham will skip routes 1, 3, 4 and 6. For the week starting Monday, Sept. 20, the company will skip routes 5, 8, 9 and 12. If staffing has not improved by the week after that, the rotation will continue, with routes 2, 8, 10 and 13 missing service again.

Buses will pick up all Special Education routes weekly.

The school district's webpage for Durham School Services does not appear to have been updated since the 2018-19 school year, but a separate webpage under parent resources now includes a list of routes.

"We anticipate having drivers secured in three to four weeks, whereby we will bring back routes to full capacity," a letter from Durham School Services to parents stated.

The letter was not shared to the district's Facebook page until 4:40 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3.

Most students will start school next Tuesday, Sept. 7, after the Labor Day holiday, leaving little time to get any clarification about the new system.

The district already announced new school start and end times last week as part of the efforts to handle inadequate driver staffing.

Warren Elementary now starts at 7:50 a.m., with Grant Watts and Otto Petersen starting at 7:55 a.m.

The middle school and high school start a full hour later, at 8:55 a.m.

For the elementary schools, some routes will start pickups as early as 6:13 a.m.

In the letter, Durham School Services outlined the desperate efforts they've made to find drivers during "an unprecedented driver shortage" nationwide.

"We are offering a $3,000 signing bonus for credentialed drivers and a $2,000 bonus for non-CDL drivers. We offer paid CDL training as well as a starting wage of $19.45 an hour. We also have a billboard, have sent mailers to all surrounding zip codes, ran newspaper ads and radio ads and boosted our online profile," the letter stated.

"With the current employment challenges facing the area, we are still unable to fill our open spots. I have reached out to all of my sites in the NW and the rest of the Northern U.S. for help, and they could not spare any drivers. I have reached out to competitors, and they are in the same position and unable to help."

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