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Why you might see your superintendent driving a bus this school year

The district's superintendent is having to get creative to fill the need, including stepping behind the wheel himself.

SALUDA, S.C. — With just a few days until Saluda County schools return for the year, the district is facing a bus driver shortage. When Monday rolls around, buses might not have the required drivers. 

Harvey Livingston, the district’s superintendent, tells News19 they are down four of their required 19 drivers. Livingston has had to get creative to fill the need, including stepping behind the wheel himself.

“If that means me getting on the bus and driving, my high school principal, our director of administration, Gerald Hemingway, some coaches, we’re all going to work together because at the end of the day, kids can’t learn if they’re not in school.”

RELATED: $38 million to be spent on new Saluda Elementary School

Livingston hopes that they can hire enough bus drivers to cover routes during the school year, but on Monday the sole focus will be getting students to class. 

He adds that a large portion of his staff is certified and has completed the training so they can help out.

Cynthia Price is a grandmother with a student in elementary school in the district. She is worried about the rural families in Saluda that live far from the school. “It makes you worry that if this is something that’s going to continue in the future, it puts a hardship on a lot of the parents that depend on the buses.”

RELATED: South Carolina school districts face teacher shortages as school year begins

Livingston says drivers must be over 18-years-old and have a clean driving record. Employment information can be found on the Saluda School District website.

News19 reached out to other school districts in the Midlands and asked about the status of their drivers. 

Richland One says they are working to hire 39 our of 188 drivers.

Lexington One said they have 45 vacancies for the upcoming year.

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