Local school districts experiencing bus driver shortage

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Getting kids to and from school on the bus is a huge help for busy parents, but it is a challenge for districts experiencing bus driver shortages.

Brownsville ISD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Carmelita Rodriguez said due to the pandemic they have lost a lot of drivers.

Now that school is no longer virtual, bus drivers are needed more than ever.

According to Rodriguez, becoming a bus driver is a big responsibility and it is their job to hire the right people that will help transport students safely.

A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required in order to be a school bus driver but not everyone has one. Rodriguez said steps are being taken to help people get one.

“We help them succeed in making sure that is accomplished, we prepare them and we give them the proper training so they can test and have that CDL,” said Rodriguez.

Luciano Rubio, Director of Transportation for Harlingen CISD, said their current bus driver shortage is at an all-time high compared to previous years.

Rubio said some parents are able to drop their kids off at school, but others depend on the district. 

He said mask-wearing is required inside school buses and social distancing is always taken into consideration.

However, due to the number of kids being transported in limited school buses, social distancing is not always possible.

According to Rubio, some routes have been adjusted and staff are the ones who are helping transport kids.

“We have a couple of routes that we have to consolidate, basically making a two into one route,” said Rubio.

Rubio said parents are aware of the situation and staff are doing their best to help out.

“Our mechanics are certified bus drivers so they are driving, some of our office personnel are certified bus drivers so they’re also driving,” he said. 

Carmelita Rodriguez said anyone interested can apply online virtually or use their lobby computers. 

As for Harlingen CISD, a job fair is taking place on Nov. 6.

Both districts expressed there are various positions other than bus driver positions that remain open.

For further information, it is encouraged to contact them directly.

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