School bus drivers shortage in North Texas area, school districts looking to hire licensed bus drivers
Texas – Staffing shortage has been an ongoing issue for some time now and the North Texas area local businesses are also hit by this months-long negative trend.
From hospitality workers to healthcare workers, many businesses struggle with staff and qualified workforce and the issue is becoming even more concerning ahead of the holiday season.
Now school districts in the North Texas area are having difficulties in finding qualified bus drivers and they are competing against each other in an effort to hire as many qualified bus drivers as possible.
Elsa Guerra is Director of Administrative Services for Dallas ISD’s Student Transportation Services. She’s hopeful Saturday’s transportation job fair will attract qualified drivers.
“Normally, on any other normal year we would not have a job fair so late, in November,” said Guerra. “But given our driver shortage, it’s something that we need to get done.”
Although the Dallas School Districts increased their pay for the open job positions to $22.69 per hour, they are still short and face shortage. According to the Dallas ISD, they need 900 bus drivers in order to operate without problems, but they are lacking 57 in achieving that minimum number.
But Dallas ISD is not the only districts with this problem. Almost all school districts in the North Texas face bus drivers shortage and districts are competing against each other when it comes to hiring.
Raul Pena is Chief Talent Officer at Fort Worth ISD. They, too, increased the starting hourly rate to $22.00 an hour. Bus attendants went from $11.11 per hour to $13.00 per hour. Pena said it was an easy decision to make.
“CDL drivers are in great demand as they are highly skilled employees. So, we’re positioning ourselves to be more competitive,” said Pena. “There was really not a lot to think about when we sat and discussed the opportunities that we could have in increasing the salary for bus drivers and bus assistants here in our district.”
According to Fort Worth ISD’s operational plan, the district needs additional 45 bus drivers in an effort to best serve the students. In addition to the increased pay, they are also offering extra bonus pay if drivers and attendants serve on a minimum of five routes per week during the academic year.
Garland and Plano ISD have also bumped their starting hourly rates to bring in certified drivers. Plano currently sits at $21 per hour, while Garland is above $21 per hour.
For now, dispatch centers are making do with what they have.
“They make it work. Somehow, they’re able to redirect that bus to pick up other students in a safe manner, but we still need to be able to fill those vacancies,” Guerra said.
For more information on Dallas ISD’s transportation job and fair or Fort Worth ISD job openings visit the following links.
texasstandard.news contributed to this report.