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School District in Monroe County Closed Due to Bus Driver Shortage

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Some schools in Monroe County are closed Thursday, Dec. 12, because of a bus driver shortage. Officials with the Pocono Mountain Scho...

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. -- Some schools in Monroe County are closed Thursday, Dec. 12, because of a bus driver shortage.

Officials with the Pocono Mountain School District say the district is forced to close because too many drivers called out.

This is the second day the district had to close because of bus issues.

"I was halfway ready this morning when they like canceled school and I didn't even check the website or anything. I just saw it on Snapchat. People were posting about how school was canceled because there were no people to take us to school," said Destiny Feliciano, a student at Pocono Mountain West.

This is the latest in a series of issues involving transportation in the district.

Last spring, some parents were against the school board's decision to outsource transportation services to a third-party bus company.

That is something the union representing the drivers continues to fight.

This fall, parents and students complained about what they called unsafe bus conditions.

"In Pocono Farms, like the bus is filled already and then there was one day when my bus driver didn't show up and we had to like double our bus, so we had to sit like three to a seat and it was like ridiculous , and we're late to school or buses don't show up, or at the end of the day half the lot is empty, no one to take some kids home," said student Kiara Harley of Tobyhanna Township.

Bus drivers and other district support staff have gone without a new contract since July and while some think the past two days were a planned "sick out" by bus drivers, union officials said it was not an organized protest.

"We have to put ourselves in their positions. If we were school bus drivers, and we're not getting what we need to make a good living, we need to put ourselves on their sides, too, so I think the community needs to get together and see both sides of the issue," said Yvette Ortiz of Coolbaugh Township.

Cathy Lyon drives a bus but not for the Pocono Mountain School District.

"I think it's very sad for the kids, I think it's sad for the bus drivers because that takes away from their livelihood," said Lyon.