Just about every industry has been touched by a national labor shortage. That includes education services. Across North Texas, school districts are competing to attract the most qualified school bus drivers.
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.”
Dallas Schools increased its starting hourly rate for bus drivers to $22.69 per hour. Still, there’s a deficit. Guerra said Dallas ISD would like to have about 900 drivers, and they’re short roughly 57 right now. To add to that challenge, they’re competing with other districts.
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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.”
He tells us Forth Worth ISD currently needs about 45 additional drivers to best serve its students. District bus drivers and attendants are also eligible for a bonus if they 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.