Wanted: School bus drivers - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Wanted: School bus drivers

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KTEN KTEN

SHERMAN, Texas -- They drive the big yellow buses that take our children to school every morning.

But most school districts across Texoma and around the nation need more drivers.

And more than a month after the fall semester began, only one area school district surveyed Wednesday by KTEN had filled all of its vacant positions.

"I've been here since the 1990s, and it was a problem then and even prior,"  said Sherman Independent School District transportation director Randy Reddell. "So I think it's just something that goes along with the turf."

In July, School Bus Fleet, an industry magazine, surveyed the 50 largest bus contractors in the United States, and none of them had a full staff of drivers.

"It is a serious concern right now for all of us in the transportation business," Reddell said, noting that it's now harder to become a school bus driver.

"Texas has 254 counties. However, there's only 25 CDL [Commercial Driver License] testing stations in Texas. So the qualifications and the criteria is quite stringent," Reddell said.

Sherman ISD school bus

Sherman ISD just hired its newest bus driver, Joel Garcia. He took his CDL test in Wichita Falls on Wednesday morning, his final step in the process to drive a school bus.

"It took me two months to get here," he said. "If you can't pass that test, you cant drive a bus."

Garcia thinks the time and effort required to get hired contributes to the driver shortage.

"Some people can't afford to hang with the process, and it's understandable," he said.

Reddell said a school bus driver shortage might always be a problem across the United States.

"It probably will until everyone gets on board with putting out stronger efforts in communication, and letting those opportunities be known," he said.

Sherman ISD still has five vacant bus driver positions available.

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