BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO)-- It's almost time for school to start, and that means students and teachers are getting classrooms ready and buying supplies to start the school year off right.
But, what about getting to and from school safely? That's where the bus drivers and Warren County transportation comes in.
"Warren County Public Schools is in the process of hiring bus drivers as we do every summer. Folks that are out and about in the community are probably seeing billboards, they're probably seeing signs on the sides of buses," says Morgan Watson, Communications Director for Warren County Public Schools.
This need for more drivers -- is it due to new schools and neighborhoods requiring more routes? Or, is it simply a decline in the number of bus drivers?
"There is a national decline in the number of applicants for transportation departments," says Watson. "Specifically public school transportation departments across the nation. So this isn't something that's unique to Warren County, it's not unique to Kentucky, it's not something that's unique to our region. It's something we're seeing nationally."
Watson says this district is one of the largest in the state.
"Warren County Public School is a growing school district. We're the 4th largest in Kentucky. Part of being a growth district means we want to stay out in front of any possible growth that we will see. So there's always the potential for additional routes once school has started," she adds.
The buses are still sitting parked for the summer, but come August 9th, they'll be busy driving routes to pick students up from school and drop them back off at home.
"We have 9,000 plus bus riders every single day here in Warren County and that doesn't count students who are in preschool. That does not count students who are being transported for field trips, we have about 2,500 field trips each year. And it doesn't count those students, nor does it count our student athletes traveling to and from events," says Watson.
The district says it's ready for the school year.
Additional bus drivers are still wanted, but even more than searching out new drivers, searching for safe drivers is the key.
"Safety is our top priority. And our transportation department is an excellent example of that and their efforts have recently been recognized and they recently received the 2017 transportation department of the year award," says Watson.
For anyone interested in applying to be a bus driver, you must be at least 21 years old and have a background check. You can apply online at www.warrencountyschools.org.
For parents wanting to check out bus routes, we've attached the Warren County route list to this web story. Remember, these routes are subject to change, and may even get altered after school begins.