Bus driver shortage in Central Texas

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Many schools across Central Texas and around the state are experiencing bus driver shortages, with the Killeen Independent School District being one of those districts.

With the nation’s overall economy improving, Killeen ISD officials say the improvement means more open positions for bus drivers needing to be filled. 

Before the 2018-19 school year, several Texas districts reported shortages of bus drivers – including several Austin-area and Dallas-area schools.

“The nation as a whole still doesn’t produce enough drivers,” says Killeen ISD spokesperson Terry Abbott. He says everyone in the district is pitching in to help. 

“We have people who are mechanics at our bus drivers shop driving buses, we have administrators at the school bus shop driving buses. We had coaches, anybody we can get our hands on,” Abbott says.

He says it’s the competition in a good economy that has made the shortage worse.

“A driver who has a commercial drivers license can not only go to the school district to get a job, they can go to the construction company down the road and get a higher paying job in this booming economy and make more money than they could make for any school district,” Abbott says.

The district still needs to fill about 56 driver positions, which is up from earlier this year. But Abbott also says its a problem they can fix and that the the district will help.

“We have a great training program for them. We will teach and educate them on how to get a CDL license. We will train them and give them their license right here at Killeen ISD. “They will get two $500 bonuses when they start driving for us,” Abbott says.

FOX44 contacted the Waco Independent School District to see if they are having the same issue, to which they responded with this statement:

“The director for our transportation contractor attributes their success in recruiting and retaining drivers, by taking good care of them.”

Although Abbott says they have the best pay for bus drivers in Central Texas, you ultimately have to love working with kids.

“Bus drivers are the first people in the line of education every day. They deliver the kids to school to get their education. So it starts with them, and that’s a special calling,” Abbott says.

To see all of the driver positions and other positions Killeen ISD has available, click here.

They are looking to fill more than 100 jobs at Thursday’s job fair at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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