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El Paso districts all seeing school bus driver shortages

EL PASO, Texas -- It's an issue impacting parents across the country, including right here in the Borderland -- finding school bus drivers.

The three largest districts in El Paso County - El Paso, Socorro, and Ysleta ISDs - tell ABC-7 they're all hiring to fill dozens of positions.

The National School Transportation Association said there are many reasons for the shortage including health concerns due to the pandemic or a lack of money. 

Some parents within districts across the Borderland say it's taking their children a little longer to get to school. 

The school districts ABC-7 spoke to, including El Paso, Socorro and San Elizario ISD, said this problem isn't necessarily new but it has been heightened this year.

“The way it's impacting parents is that...sometimes routes are delayed either at pickup or drop off depending on the the drivers are needed for that day,” said spokesperson for EPISD, Melissa Martinez.

“They're up at the crack of dawn and sometimes don't go to sleep until midnight, so there's that ever growing need." said Marivel Macias, assistant superintendent for administrative services for Socorro ISD. "Then as the economy changes, again, we're usually competing with other entities that also need amazing (Commercial Drivers License) drivers."

Even some of the smaller school districts, including San Elizario ISD, are searching for drivers. At full capacity needs 33 drivers to meet the demand. They're currently facing a 10 percent shortage this school year.

San Elizario's support services transportation supervisor said that the district is trying to keep their route times under 40 minutes and that's meant that some administrators have had to get behind the wheel themselves.

"In the past years, I would maybe drive once once a month, if anything, and that would be due to unscheduled absences. But right now, yes...we have one driver who's driving (a) dedicated route and then our dispatcher, myself at least twice or three times a week, we'll have to hop on a route,” said Dexter Harman.  

All the districts say they're trying to stay competitive when it comes to wages. SISD offering drivers more than $15.50 an hour. SISD and SEISD both have programs for drivers to help increase wages the longer they work within their district.

EPISD and SISD both have training programs to help drivers obtain their Commercial Drivers License.

EPISD, SISD, YISD, and SEISD are hiring. To learn more about applying for EPISD, click here. For SISD, click here. For YISD, click here. For SEISD, click here.

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

Comments

20 Comments

  1. Bring immigrants and train them. They will be happy to have a job. Americans are too use to sitting at home and getting government handouts like the ones above.

  2. Maybe the bus drivers can be paid more if the overpaid superintendents were not paid over $600,000 a year.

    Refund the superintendents. With the graduation rate at only 75%, they are not worth that amount.

    1. Uvacowboy stay in your lane. Take your federal military peanuts and enjou staying at home like a girl. Let the professionals/educated negotiate and have careers. In your end, enjoy your easy street life. Don’t forget to put the flag up.

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