East Texas schools facing bus driver shortage

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CHAPEL HILL, Texas (KETK) – Schools around the country are facing a bus driver shortage, including several in East Texas.

While there isn’t a definite reason behind the shortage, professionals in the industry are pointing to job requirements as a possible reason.

“You need to have your CDL and certificate in order to be a bus driver,” said Mark Dahlgren, head of transportation for Chapel Hill ISD.

The certificate takes 20 hours to complete and comes with a fee, although districts like Chapel Hill offer to cover the cost.

“The process to obtain a CDL license with a bus endorsement has become more rigorous and challenging,” said Angela Stinson with Bullard ISD. “Although this new process has limited the number of licensed drivers available for employment, Bullard ISD is thankful extra precautions have been put into place to assure the safety of our students on a daily basis.” 

Dahlgren said right now their district is in need of a few drivers to help them maintain normal bus routes and times.

“When we’re really short, then we have to double up bus routes and get kids home later than we would like,” said Dahlgren.

To entice new drivers to sign up, Dahlgren said their district is offering some incentives.

“At Chapel Hill ISD, we offer a $500 sign on bonus for new drivers. After working 60 days for the district we’ll give them the sign on bonus so that’s a plus,” said Dahlgren.

Staff at Henderson ISD and Bullard ISD have also reported their need for the drivers as well.

If interested, you can visit each districts website for information on transportation employment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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