Carman Ainsworth agrees to contract with First Student bus company

FLINT TWP. — With students now back in class, Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools is hiring more full-time bus drivers to keep its fleet up to par with daily runs.

At its Feb. 2 meeting, the Carman-Ainsworth Board of Education approved a contract between CACS and commercial bus company First Student Inc., which will be providing five drivers for the district for the rest of the 2020/2021 school year.

Carman-Ainsworth currently has 13 drivers under contract and is running 18 to 19 buses each school day during the district’s hybrid format, which has students in class two days a week and taking online courses the rest of the week. With the additional hires, the fleet will have 18 drivers to help balance its driver/bus ratio.

Assistant Superintendent Russell Parks said that CACS— like many districts across the county—has been having a hard time recruiting qualified bus drivers, due mostly to school shutdowns during the COVID- 19 pandemic and the state of the county’s economy.

“Finding drivers is becoming more and more difficult as we proceed through the school year,” he said. “This contract with First Student will help us solve some of our problems so that we don’t have to double our bus runs and risk getting students late to their buildings.”

Parks said that First Student’s large pool of bus drivers will also be beneficial for the district, which needs to have five drivers per student for bus operations to run smoothly.

As part of its contract with First Student, CACS will be charged $200 a day per ride for the five new drivers, who will work six-hour shifts. Drivers who are contracted directly through the school district are paid by the run.