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As school year nears, bus driver shortage plagues Tri-State districts

Fairfield offers starting pay is $20.28 an hour
Metro school bus
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 18:07:12-04

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Many Tri-State schools are in desperate need of bus drivers for the upcoming school year.

Fairfield City School District has a little more than one month before the 2022-23 school year starts. Before then, they need to hire more bus drivers. Assistant transportation director Janette Flick said they have five open bus driver positions, three open positions for their special needs buses and two open bus aide positions.

“That's the most we've ever had open this close to the start of school yet,” Flick said. “Normally we have our routes filled. We may not have a lot of substitutes, but we normally have routes filled."

She said they currently have no substitute drivers.

“I could use up to ten substitute drivers, but I’d be happy with two or three," Flick said.

The district is taking steps to try and get more applicants. They're offering a free program where applicants will now also get paid during training.

Fairfield City Schools’ routes are all full-time with full benefits. Starting pay is $20.28 an hour, but they’re still having trouble getting people to apply.

“It’s nationwide — I feel like the whole world is short-staffed," Flick said. "There’s just not enough people to do the jobs, but I’m not sure where they went."

Fairfield mother Brandi Washington said she wants to make sure the open positions are filled by people she can trust.

“Instead of hiring individuals that just want a paycheck, kind of looking for the adults that really care about the kids and they know how to handle certain situations when they arise on the school bus, I think that's also very important as well," Washington said.

She said consistency matters when it comes to the person picking kids up for school every day.

“It's already hard enough after 2020,” Washington said. “Children need familiar faces within their lives.”

Anyone interested in applying to one of those open positions at Fairfield City Schools can find more information on their website or click here to apply.

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