If you are certified to drive a school bus, the Wake County school system could use you right now.
Wake Schools Superintendent Tony Tata said the "real limiting factor" to operating the 41 of the 52 previously sidelined buses is lack of permanent drivers. Wake is getting by with steps such as using substitute drivers and team leaders. Mechanics who are certified bus drivers are also being paid overtime to get behind the wheel while the district hires and trains more permanent drivers.
But Tata said that it's still tight ensuring there are enough drivers each day to handle the new and readjusted routes.
"We are in a position where we are putting buses against problems and we need drivers," Tata said. "We have a driver for every bus. But on any given work force you've got 922 people. You know that people are going to have health issues or need time off or whatever."
Tata cited how he was at the Apex transportation district on Thursday. During the time he was there, five drivers called in sick.
Tata said they've reached out to Raleigh's Capital Area Transit to see if Wake can tap into their list of substitute drivers.
Tata said they're reaching out to private companies that provide bus drivers.
Tata said they're also calling every single substitute driver on the district's rolls to ask if they'd come on as a permanent driver.
In addition to saving money, school transportation staff had cited the difficulty filling bus driver positions to support the move to the new bus routing system.
Staff had cited how there's typically 30 to 50 vacant bus driver positions at any given time. The high stress, rigorous training, tough hours and low pay don't make the job very desirable.
(I'm not working today so response time will be slow to any questions.)
Wake has posted this link off its homepage advertising for more school bus drivers. The listing says the position provides a "competitive wage package" and a "great working environment."