KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — Hays Consolidated Independent School District is experiencing an extreme shortage of bus drivers. So much so that if one driver calls in sick, they have to cancel a route and scramble other buses to the area to pick up students.
Out of 159 bus driver positions, the district says it is short 58. Everyone in the district that holds a bus driver’s license including the mechanics have to pick up the slack to try and keep everything running smoothly.
For the first time this week, the district missed a bus route due to the lack of drivers.
“It’s really created some trouble spots for us,” said Hays CISD Assistant Director for Transportation Jessica Fischer.
The route was only missed for one day, but district leaders are concerned it could happen again if more bus drivers aren’t hired soon.
“For parents it’s really frustrating because their kids may be getting to school late or they are getting picked up by another bus and they’re not sure what time they are going to get picked up or their bus number at that point,” said Fischer.
Fischer says the district is doing everything possible to bring in extra drivers. The district recently approved a pay increase from $14.25 to $16 for starting drivers. It’s a decision those driving the routes hope will bring in more help.
“They are needing more routes to be covered by fewer people so there’s a lot more work that has to be done,” said Hays CISD Bus Driver John Frank. “It’s a good job. The things that are good about it far outweighs the things that are bad.”
To learn more about becoming a bus driver, you can visit the district’s website.
Looking at other central Texas districts, Austin ISD says they still need 15 people to be in a comfortable position. Round Rock ISD has eight open positions and is offering $15.87 an hour. Both Manor and Pflugerville ISD says they are fully staffed, with both paying $16 an hour.