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Leon County Schools District navigating school bus driver shortage

Posted at 10:05 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 22:05:18-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County Schools says they're now paying drivers around $18 an hour to try and get more drivers to expand their bus routes.

Some Leon County Parents online are saying is necessary - with some kids waiting almost an hour for a ride to school.

"We're really looking to remedy this situation as swift as possible, we understand and we hear you," Leon County Schools Public Information Officer Chris Petley said.

He added the district is working as fast as they can to help fill around 19 open bus driver positions in the county.

Drivers are working longer routes, which some parents -- who didn't want to go on camera -- say have caused their children to get to school late. Some saying they've seen up to an hour in delays.

"We're doing everything we can to go to work fairs, advertise, put our buses on the side of the road with giant banners on them, increased the salary's for bus drivers," Petley said.

In 2016, school bus drivers made around $11.48 an hour. This year, that salary up to over $18 an hour.

In order to drive for LCS, drivers must have a Commercial Drivers License, which according to says could take up to two to six months to get.

For those who already have their CDL, Leon County Schools says they'll need a few more things: a background check, a drug screening and Additional training that will be provided by LCS which includes the Florida Department of Education School Bus Driver Curriculum, and a 40-hour school bus driver course.

Petley adds that they too-- are feeling the delays.

"The employees in the system, we have children too, we understand what's going on. We're trying to go through a national issue that we're seeing her locally," Petley said.

For any parents whose children may have received unexcused tardy's because of bus delays, Petley added that parents should work with their individual school to correct those issues.