LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Las Cruces Public Schools start their new school year next week.
Teachers are ready to welcome kids back to the classroom but there may be a problem getting them there, as
the district is experiencing a shortage of at least 20 bus drivers.
STS of New Mexico is the school bus service company contracted to transport LCPS students.
The company is collapsing routes, meaning drivers are taking on additional routes and adding more kids to their busses for next week; a school bus can hold up to 75 students.
If your child is in LCPS and rides the bus, their day may be extended an extra 45 minutes because of early pick-ups and late drop-offs due to the route consolidations.
Bus driver pay, which starts at $13 an hour, is believed to be part of the reason for the shortage because some drivers are receiving government benefits that surpass the wages they would make returning to work.
"I know there are still a number of drivers that are not coming back because they are still receiving benefits, and their choices are come back to work, having the Covid 19 issues still around - or not having to come back to work because they're still making money due to benefits," said Fred Upshaw, STS' safety officer and a driver himself.
The bus company said it is working on an improved pay package for drivers