El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – With kids back to in-person learning, school districts across the nation have been experiencing a shortage of bus drivers.
Locally, some districts are seeing the same issue. Many have enough drivers, but Clint Independent School District and Fabens Independent School District are looking for more.
Clint Independent School District said they are short 14 drivers and are interviewing anyone who has applied for those positions.
“All of our staff, to include mechanics, dispatchers, and office staff have been driving as well as performing their normal duties. Many of our staff have been working overtime” said Marketing & Public Relations Specialist Sara Lopez.
They are currently allowing anyone who has at a minimum, a CDL class A or B permit with a P (Passenger) and S (School Bus) endorsement.
Officials with the Fabens Independent School District said they have been able to manage bus drivers effectively, however with the start of college classes soon, they foresee added strain in overtime costs and a need to cover drivers. Two more bus drivers are needed.
“At the moment we are evaluating our position and as a team preparing solutions to manage current employee schedules while being financially responsible but never jeopardizing the safety and security of our students while on Fabens ISD buses. Moving forward we will, as a team, determine the needs of additional drivers and will discuss incentive programs we can make available for potential applicants and our current staff.” Leticia Mora, a spokesperson for Fabens ISD.
Other districts in the area have been lucky and have managed to find enough drivers.
Gadsen ISD officials say their bus services are contracted out to Boone Transportation and during 2020 when students were in remote learning, Boone Transportation did lose 20 drivers, but managed to have some of the retired drivers come back until new ones could be hired and trained. They do not have a shortage right now but continue to list their vacancies if any on their website.
Anthony ISD is currently staffed with bus drivers. They’ve planned ahead and if a bus driver is absent, AISD has two substitutes, a mechanic and transportation coordinator, that are certified bus drivers and can fill in.
“We always have a bus driver job application open on our website so we can quickly select from a list of candidates if we ever need to fulfill a position. School transportation is essential to ensure the students arrive safely to school at Anthony ISD.” said AISD’s Communications and Safety Coordination, Adriana Candelaria.