Texas Central School Bus, the North Texas school bus contractor that supplies the Lewisville Independent School District with bus drivers, training, and bus monitors, scrambled to hold a hiring fair Friday taking advantage of the district’s closure due to COVID-related staffing shortages.
“This is the start of a child getting their education: getting to school,” said Texas Central School Bus Senior Contract Manager Jessica Smith. “If you can’t get them to school, how are they going to get an education?”
Texas Central School Bus needs employees so badly they are offering sign-on bonuses and never-before-used incentives for 'parent-teacher associations' within the Lewisville ISD.
“We’re about 40 drivers short and I’m short 30 monitors that assist with special needs children,” said Smith. “Being short 40 drivers makes your busses run later. It puts more work on other drivers.”
Smith said the company needs another 25 drivers for routes in the Keller ISD.
Texas Central School Bus has increased starting pay to $20/hour, ranging from $20-$28/hour depending on experience.
The company is also enticing new drivers and monitors with a $3,000 sign-on bonus as well as offering district PTAs a bonus.
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“We’re going to pay any PTA that refers us in our district, if they refer me a driver, I’m going to pay that PTA $3,000,” said Smith. “So, we’re giving something back to the schools too to help our kids in the schools.”
Monique Vassar is among a handful of candidates who received a job offer Friday after applying online. She’s been considering getting her CDL and is grateful training will be free of cost.
“I have grandkids that are actually in the school district and they always complain to me about the lack of drivers and having to stay longer hours waiting for someone to come and pick them up, so I figured why not,” said Vassar.
The COVID-19 pandemic made an already existing nationwide bus shortage worse, according to Smith.
Massachusetts enlisted its National Guard to drive students to school in smaller busses.
“I would not say we’re at that point,” said Smith, who said the company has been able to shuffle resources between districts.
The perfect candidate, she said, is someone who loves kids and has an eye for safety.
Texas Central School Bus said the $3,000 sign-on bonus upon the successful completion of training will be offered for a few more months.
The bonus for Lewisville ISD PTAs will be offered through the end of the current school year, said Smith.
Candidates undergo a thorough background check, including drug testing and fingerprinting.
Driver candidates must be at least 21 years of age, have a relatively clean driving record, and have no felony convictions.
Bus monitors must be at least 18 years of age and cannot currently be enrolled in high school.
Candidates also receive CDL training.
For more information about career opportunities in Lewisville or Keller, click here.