Solon superintendent get bus license, helps during driver shortage

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 5:29 PM CDT
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SOLON, Iowa (KCRG) - School superintendents can wear a lot of hats, helping out where they can throughout their district. But the superintendent of the Solon school district has gone the extra mile.

While many school districts across Eastern Iowa are seeing some bus driver shortages, the Solon superintendent decided to open some doors to help fill the gap.”>

After experiencing that driver shortage firsthand, the Solon school district got a grant that lets them train new bus drivers.

That’s when Davis Eidahl decided he wanted to sit in the driver’s seat.

”Between just the shortage of drivers and maybe needing a spare in an emergency every now and then, and being able to learn more of what the training consists of, I actually participated in that training,” said Eidahl.

And he got his bus license. Eidahl said with all of the extracurricular activities students participate in, there are days they send out seven buses and multiple vans on the same night.

”And trying to put together the number of route drivers we need to drop people off after school and then activity drivers to go to all these events we run short sometimes,” he said.

Drivers with the district said while they were surprised to see him behind the wheel, they appreciate their superintendent helping wherever possible.

”I think it’s a great way for him to lead by example. Obviously, we’re short on drivers so, every driver is crucial at this point,” said Dave Johnson, Solon Schools Director of Transportation.

And while there was a bit of a learning curve.

”I was nervous. I won’t lie about that. There’s a lot of controls. And a lot of things you’re required to think about and do all at the same time,” said Eidahl.

Eidahl said driving a bus has become a fun challenge.

”You actually start to crave it a little bit!” he said.

Being able to step out of the classroom and see the kids in a whole new light.

”I do like the different roles. I had worked in a large district and I came to Solon to be in a smaller district. To where I could just be more of an educator and more involved. And I never dreamed that it would expand to bus driving, but I really enjoy the various roles within the school district,” he said.

Taking time to learn a new skill to not only help fill a need but also better connect with the district he serves.