WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Most students in the Piedmont Triad will be back in the classroom in a few weeks. But there will be some challenges getting them there.
Here is a list of school districts that shared their open bus driver positions with FOX8.
- Davie County Schools: 6 school bus drivers
- Asheboro City Schools: 3 school bus drivers and the need for substitutes
- Alamance Burlington Schools: About 25 school bus drivers. The district will be consolidating routes, and drivers will have to run double routes to keep up.
- Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools: 68 school bus drivers and the need for substitutes
- Stokes County Schools: 2 school bus drivers, but the district is confident they will begin the year fully staffed.
- Rockingham County schools: 31 school bus drivers
- Surry County Schools: 6 school bus drivers
- Thomasville City Schools: 3 school bus drivers
- Guildford County Schools: 66 full-time bus drivers, 16 part-time bus drivers
- Yadkin County Schools: 1 bus driver
- Mount Airy City Schools: fully staffed
Few of those districts had to make any changes, but Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is working to maximize the space on the buses because drivers will be taking some extra trips to make up for the shortage.
“It is going to have its challenges. We are not going to sugarcoat it,” said Tisha Davidson, the executive director of transportation at WSFC schools.
Davidson wants to warn parents that there will be changes for the 2023-2024 school year.
“We are doing our best. Being 68 drivers down is going to cause some hardship throughout the district,” Davidson said.
The district is working to map out the most efficient routes for the roughly 32,000 students who take the bus to and from school every day.
“There will be some buses that are going to be later. They will not make that first bell time,” Davidson said.
The updated routes will be posted online by Aug. 14, and the school bus drivers will be out for their test runs next week.
“Just because we ran that route last year is that the correct thing to do? Are we keeping safety in mind? Are we keeping the capacity in mind, and are we doing everything we possibly can to be efficient during those routes to get the students there earlier?” Davidson said.
They encourage parents to use the “Here Comes the Bus” app to track their school bus. This summer, the district updated the GPS in the buses to give a more accurate location. They are also asking for patience from parents as they work to hire, train and get new drivers into the rotation.
“We have as young as college students working for us, and we have a lot of retirees that work for us, so we are looking for people who love children and have a clean driving record … and people who want to support our community,” Davidson said.
The school district is hosting a hiring event called Coffee with a Driver on Aug. 9.
Potential applicants can have coffee and hear from school bus drivers about what the job is like on a day-to-day basis.