MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. — Monroe County Schools released a list of bus routes that would be covered as they continue looking for drivers a day before the school year starts. They struggled to cover bus routes for several weeks leading up to the start of school.
Monroe County Schools has routes that cover Tellico Plains, Madisonville, Sweetwater and Vonore. The district announced on Friday, July 29 that it would be advertising the third round of bus route applications.
They previously said some bus drivers have left due to contract negotiations. The old contract included a $400 monthly stipend and around $1.38 per seat per bus, per day. The new contract removed the stipend but gave bus drivers a 3% seat rate raise.
More recently though, they said the lapse in coverage was due to a nationwide shortage of bus drivers. A new law also requires bus drivers to complete CDL training. The school system said it would provide the training free of charge to people willing to drive for their contractors.
A list of bus routes that are covered in the school system is available below.
- Tellico Plains: 23, 24, 25, 29, 34, 35, 46
- Madisonville: 4, 7, 7A, 8, 8A, 9A, 10A, 11, 12, 13
- Vonore: 36, 37, 37A, 38, 39, 42, 43, 43A
- Sweetwater: 14, 15, 16, 18, 208, 210, 211, 212
In a letter posted on social media, the school system emphasized that guardians and parents are still responsible for making sure students go to school even if their bus route is not covered.
They also said children would be counted absent if they do not arrive at school due to a lack of transportation. The law they cited only applies to children between 6 years old and 17 years old.
Finally, they also emphasized that the school system is not required by the state to provide transportation for students enrolled in the school district. The law they cited says boards of education may provide school transportation for students who live more than 1-and-a-half miles from the nearest accessible route.