The Pinckney Community School district is taking a resourceful approach to dealing with a shortage of bus drivers.

Superintendent Rick Todd says PCS has the same problem that many other districts have- not enough bus drivers. Todd says the district put out an email letting the community know about the lack of drivers and it generated some interest, but not enough to close the gap. Todd says the shortage isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it indicates a solid economy. Livingston County has one of the lowest jobless rates in the state, which means not many of its residents are out looking for a job. Todd says a lot of area employers are feeling the effects and schools aren't immune to that.

PCS has just enough drivers to cover all of the morning routes. The challenge is afternoons, when there is the additional job of getting students to after-school athletic events. The district got creative last year and bought a large van that can transport 10 students. Decked out in school colors and emblazoned with the mascot, Todd says it’s been a big hit.

The vehicle is purchased through a state bidding source and cost approximately $25,000. Todd says the district has seen enough cost savings to know the investment basically pays for itself. The Board of Education chose to build their fleet of vans and approved the purchase of a second one at their meeting Thursday. They’re also not opposed to buying more in the future.

While the district hopes to hire more bus drivers, Todd says they will consider other options that are financially responsible, but get the job done. (DK)