The SD54 building in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The SD54 building in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

School district buses teachers to Houston

Pilot program for teachers commuting to Houston from Smithers intended to address hiring issues

School District 54 (SD54) teachers living in the Smithers area are now commuting to work in Houston using a bus supplied by the district which is also covering its fuel and maintenance costs.

The idea is to provide an effective way of getting teachers back and forth, particularly during the winter, which will then act as an attraction when hiring teachers and the hope more will then stay longer.

Two teachers have agreed to drive the bus, explained SD54 secretary/treasurer Dave Margerm in outlining the intent of supplying a bus.

“To support recruitment of teaching staff to work in Houston given the challenges of hiring teachers for schools in Houston, also to provide a safer transportation system during periods of poor weather for teachers with concerns about winter drive.”

Margerm also noted the district and school board want to be greener, something the bus commute makes possible because fewer teachers are using their own vehicles.

Eight to 12 teachers are currently taking advantage of the program.

“I am told those using the service are very happy,” Margerm said.

The district and board will evaluate the program at the end of the year to determine if it should become permanent.

School District 54 (SD54) is bussing teachers from Smithers to Houston in a pilot project designed to address hiring and retention issues in the district.

For years, many teachers have made the drive from Smithers to Houston to get to their schools. It is up to an hour commute one way, and, in the winter, can be much longer and a treacherous trek.

It has long been a reason teachers did not want to teach in Houston. They felt they couldn’t handle the commute every day, nor the cost of fuel and maintenance of their vehicles.