Dallas Independent School District is considering hiring teachers to fill hundreds of bus driver positions before the next school year begins. This follows a decision by voters to dissolve the bus agency that had served the district.
Voters decided in November to dissolve the scandal-plagued busing agency Dallas County Schools.
Dallas ISD is hiring for the positions, but the district might have to get creative to fill the need, maybe even allowing teachers who are willing to be training and certified to driver students to and from school.
District transportation leaders provided the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees a third update on the district’s student transportation plan to take over the district’s own bus service beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.
“We feel pretty good about where we’re at, at this point,” Scott Layne told board members on Thursday afternoon. “We’d like to be a little farther, obviously, with the hiring.”
The district has been tasked with hiring more than 1,200 employees in six months.
DISD has hired more than 400 bus drivers with a commercial driver’s license to drive the big yellow school buses.
However, the district still needs to hire an additional 400 drivers to meet its goal.
The district says many people have applied and are currently going through the interview process, but there is a bus driver shortage to contend with.
It has left DISD to open the door to interested teachers willing to take the wheel, literally.
They would add "bus driver" to their daily responsibilities.
“Yeah, it’s pretty realistic,” said Layne. “I’m sure other school districts do it. Again, it gives teachers, other professionals the opportunity to earn additional money.”
Layne, DISD deputy superintendent for operations, stresses if this happens teachers would be trained and certified.
Athletic coaches have already expressed interest in learning this summer.
“We’ve had teachers driving before, so what is the big issue about allowing teachers to drive?” asked Trustee Joyce Foreman.
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says they would ensure teachers and students don’t miss out on before and after-school tutoring.
“Wherever possible we’re going to look at it but we don’t want to interrupt the instructional program or other support that a teacher needs to do on that campus,” said Hinojosa.
It is just one of the options being considered as the second largest school district in the state prepares to take over its own bus service.
The teacher’s union in Dallas is in favor of interested teachers driving school buses.
The union says it has been done in the past, adding that it is a way for teachers to supplement their pay.
Especially since many already work a second job to make ends meet, said a union rep.