KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Sweetwater City Schools are still working to secure school bus services for the 2022-23 academic year less than a week before classes are set to begin.

Class in Monroe County begins August 5 as negotiations with between the county and bus contractors over compensation remain ongoing.

Sweetwater City Schools Director Rodney Boruff said that their district subcontracts bus services through the county they have yet to secure coverage for their 13 bus routes.

Cooley Bus Service, which has handled bus routes and drivers for Monroe County for about five decades, has not signed on to handle bus routes this year and that has created vacancies. There are disagreements between the company and the school system.

Last month, Monroe County Schools posted a notice on social media seeking applications for all Monroe County Schools bus routes.

Rodney Boruff, Sweetwater City Schools Director, addressed the concern in an email.

“We subcontract our bus services through Monroe County. They handle contracts for all routes across the county. I know that they are working diligently to get all routes covered. Due to the nationwide bus driver shortage and new local contract changes, several routes across the county are not under contract. The Sweetwater community has no contractor for our 13 routes at this time. I can say as recently as yesterday afternoon, meetings were taking place to discuss potential coverage.

As I have said before, I am prayerful that this will get resolved soon because I am well aware of the stress and anxiety that parents, school officials, and bus contractors are going through right now. As a student who rode a bus, I know the importance of having buses and I hope that we can come to a positive conclusion for all involved.”

Rodney Boruff, Sweetwater City Schools Director

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The Sweetwater City School System consists of four schools from pre-k through eighth grade. Monroe County Schools serve the high school grade levels.