BURLINGTON, N.C. – Getting kids to school safe and on time is so important t0 many parents, and now several local school districts are looking to hire people who make sure that happens.
There are currently dozens of school bus driver openings in counties including Forsyth, Guilford and Alamance.
The Alamance-Burlington School System is in need of 25 school bus drivers.
"It's pretty unusual, that number," ABSS Asst. Superintendent of Operations Todd Thorpe said. "Alamance County has had a lot of growth. Normally we'd have 10 to 12 openings this time of year. So we're double what we should be."
Thorpe said the bus driver shortage is due in part to an increasing population in Alamance County, due to jobs at the Sheetz Distribution Center and Walmart Distribution Center. He also noted that ABSS lost several bus drivers who chose to drive for Burlington's public bus system, Link Transit, instead.
Because of the bus driver shortage, Thorpe said some cafeteria workers, custodians and teacher assistants, who are licensed to drive buses, have been picking up slack. Still, it means that some buses have to do double routes -- which means kids' pickup times vary.
"It's very important to our parents, to our schools, to our children, to make sure that there's an exact time or range of time that their child will be delivered back to the home," Thorpe said.
Lillian Cousin has been a bus driver with ABSS for nine years. She said she loves her job, but applicants should be prepared for a lot of responsibility.
"I have a child in the school system," Cousin said. "And I think about how I would feel if something were to happen to my child. I take it upon myself to love the children a little more than necessary. You really have to love children. Because if something they do will make you get angry - then you don't need to do this job."
Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools currently has 22 vacancies for school bus drivers, and 16 vacancies for substitute bus drivers.
Guilford County Schools has 30 vacant bus driver positions.
To apply, visit the school districts' websites.