FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga — School buses in Forsyth County need more people in the driver’s seat, as the district is dealing with one of the worst driver shortages in years.
Out of 419 positions, the Forsyth County Schools system has more than 70 vacancies for bus drivers. To cover the shortage, substitute drivers and supervisors have stepped onboard, and some drivers are doubling their routes. That sometimes leads to kids getting home a little late.
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“Well, we just work harder and longer and double back,” said Juanita Jackson, who’s driven school buses for 15 years. “We try our best to get them home as safe and as fast as we can. It’s a long day.”
The district is working to entice new drivers through messages on billboards and on signs posted on the buses themselves. It has job fairs set for September, October and November.
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“It really is a great job if you’re retired and you’re looking for something to do part time,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, a spokesperson for the school district.
The job has a starting pay of $18.02 an hour. It is a part-time position, but it comes with full-time benefits and paid sick leave. Driving a bus requires a commercial driver’s license, and Caracciolo says the district will pay for the training.
As for Jackson, she treasures the job and encourages others to give it a shot. “It’s an important job, and people don’t realize we really need you. We need them out there,” she said.
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