The Lafayette Parish School Board added two clerical positions to its transportation budget Tuesday.
The permanent, clerical positions, if approved in the final budget, will add two people to the transportation department to field phone calls for help with bus service. Last fall, the system was hit with dozens of calls almost daily from parents with transportation issues. Because there wasn’t enough staff to field all the calls, some went unanswered, which caused parents to become frustrated.
Chief Administrative Officer Joe Craig said he believes things will be better this fall.
Craig says he has people in the department now who can answer calls, but if a bus driver calls in sick or doesn’t show up for work, those people have to get out and drive a route.
The system has been suffering from a lack of bus drivers, and that’s still an issue, but it’s improving, Craig said.
"It’s better, but it’s still an issue," he said. "We’re still having trouble hiring and retaining, but I think we’re in better shape than a lot of areas around here are."
Craig said the system is starting its second year with new transportation software, and that’s helping a lot.
"We did some spot zone adjustments, but we’re really not making significant bus changes this year, and we’re not looking at a lot of program changes or anything like that," Craig said.