MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — Jackson County students are just about a week away from heading back to school, but the school district is still hurting for bus drivers.
They are still looking for drivers, monitors and mechanics, with about three more spots to fill.
District employees are pulling double duty to fill the need.
“I have probably 10 to 12 teachers and coaches that are driving,” Jackson County Superintendent Steve Benton said. “I’ve got two directors here that drive every day from the county office. Mechanics are driving, the manager of the bus barn is driving and we are fixing to probably put some principals in driving.”
The district has also had to combine bus routes, taking the total from 64 last year to 60 this year.
Benton said hiring outside the district has been tough, as many don’t want the responsibility of bus driving.
He said having teachers drive has been a workable solution so far.
“We let our teachers drive and what it does is it saves us not only money, we pay benefits one time so they get extra money for driving along with their teacher checks, and it also helps us with the teachers driving and the coaches because they know the kids,” Benton said.
The school district is in negotiations with the union to raise the bus driver rate to $15 an hour in hopes of making the job more appealing.
Anyone interested in applying for a Jackson County bus driving job can visit jcsb.org or call (850) 482-1200.