JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Students and staff are almost halfway through the school year but some school systems are still struggling to fill positions.
In Onslow County, school bus drivers are hard to come by. Bus drivers are necessary to get students to and from school. With the shortage of drivers, it’s becoming more difficult to do so.
“We’ve had a shortage, and it’s just getting people to apply and go through the training,” said James Haas, director of transportation for Onslow County Schools. “Currently, we have around 60 openings for bus drivers.”
Typically, Onslow County Schools has around 225 bus drivers, but this year they only have around 160. Although they are making it work the best they can with the empty positions.
“Currently we do double what routes we can, some routes we do have to do a drop and go,” said Haas. “School staff has been gracious enough to have people there to get the early load of kids. So we can go back out and get those children.”
With students having different pick-up and drop-off times than normal, the school system is grateful for parents being understanding.
“We appreciate the flexibility of our families. We haven’t had to cancel routes or make parents drive their own kids to school,” said Brent Anderson, chief communications officer for Onslow County Schools.
“It may not be as quickly as parents are accustomed to in years past when we’ve had a full complement of drivers. But we’re doing the best we can to get those kids to and from school safely every day.”
But they want to get back on course and fill those positions as quickly as possible.
“We do start off our bus drivers at $16 an hour, we do offer a $2,500 sign-on bonus,” added Haas. “Our current bus drivers can get a $1,000 bonus by referring people.”
It’s a way to remind job seekers that bus drivers mean the world to their students.
“They are the first people that the children see. And the last ones I see at the end of the day, so they do make a difference,” said Haas.
The school system added they’re not just short on bus drivers, but all employees across the board including teachers, custodians and nutritionists. If you’re interested in applying for one of the Onslow County Schools openings, click here.