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Wake Co. schools still in need of teachers, bus drivers

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The Wake County Public School System still has approximately 20 teaching vacancies to fill before school starts Aug. 26.

The schools system had around 40 vacancies on Aug. 9 due to normal growth and retirement.

"We're right on pace for the opening of a new school year," said Doug Thilman, who serves as assistant superintendent for human resources for the school system.

Wake County has 700 new teachers this year, including recent N.C. State University graduate, Ryne Jones.

"What am I most nervous about? Probably a group of 30 new faces looking at me saying 'Boy, you look like us!' Jones said. "So, we may have a little hurdle there."

The shortage isn't just in the classroom, the school system is also looking for bus drivers.

The district was short about 60 drivers two weeks ago.

Last year, the county saw a busing debacle that took weeks to fix.

"Last year was a challenge," said David Neter with the transportation department. The situation got so bad, the district used mechanics behind wheel."This year, we do not anticipate being put into that position," said Neter.

During a work session of the transportation department Tuesday, the topics of realistic routes, open communication between schools and parents and getting good drivers came up.

The school system has put drivers through a two week training course to help avoid repeating last year's mistakes. The school system said every route has been tested in real time last least three times.

"Monday will be the real test," Neter said.

The school system said anyone with a valid driver's license and without a criminal background may be eligible.

The Wake County Public School System encourages parents to use a new transportation website as a one-stop resource for bus routes, frequent questions, and customer service and support.

Parents and students who will ride a Wake County school bus should become familiar with the website.

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