Dallas County Schools, the school bus provider for 12 North Texas school districts, needs immediate help to fill 154 vacant bus driver positions.
In an effort to increase interest in the positions, which start at $15.50/hour, DCS is offering bonuses to current drivers if they can recruit qualified candidates, in addition to hiring bonuses to the new drivers.
“DCS especially needs drivers who care about children, have a commercial license already and want to go to work in a job that has many benefits,” said Carey Marin, a DCS spokesperson. “If you live in the area, are a teacher, a coach, or retired, we need you.”
Marin said the on-boarding process takes about two to three weeks and involves approximately 100 hours of training.
For months, NBC 5 Investigates has reported on safety concerns surrounding Dallas County Schools, including the discovery of nearly 500 tickets issued to bus drivers for running red lights.
Those tickets, as well as other moving violations, resulted in approximately $80,000 in fines that DCS paid for using taxpayer money.
NBC 5 Investigates also uncovered that Dallas County Schools never followed up with any of the bus drivers after the violations, even those who had committed multiple infractions, which means they were never held accountable for their mistakes, despite a policy that said they should be suspended for first and second offenses and fired for the third offense.
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That changed following the NBC 5 Investigates reporting – 13 drivers were fired and an additional 229 drivers were suspended.
The union that represents the Dallas County Schools drivers puts the blame for the drivers’ mistakes on DCS management.
Union organizer Kenneth Stretcher said DCS runs a thinly-staffed school bus operation where schedules are so tight drivers are forced to speed.
"The drivers are put into a situation where they have to be at a certain place at a certain time," Stretcher said. "If you want these drivers to drive carefully you can't put them in a situation where you have to speed or where they have to take short cuts like that."
In addition to offering hiring bonuses for new drivers, Dallas County Schools is taking part in four job fairs in the next two weeks:
Wednesday, December 7
- TWC-Job Fair, 801 S State Highway 161 Suite 500, Grand Prairie, TX 75051
Thursday, December 8
- The Job Opportunity, 1610 Malcolm X Blvd, Dallas, TX
Wednesday, December 14
- Southwest Workforce, 7330 S. Westmoreland Rd, Dallas, TX
Thursday, December 15
- The Job Opportunity, 1610 Malcolm X Blvd., Dallas, TX
The job fairs run from 9 a.m. to noon, according to DCS.