TOLEDO (WTVG) - There is a bus driver shortage and some districts are putting out the help wanted sign. In Springfield Local Schools, there is a bus right in front of the High School recruiting bus driver candidates. "Bus driving is a strange industry," says Ron Smith, Director of Transportation for Springfield Schools. "It's not one of those jobs that people want to come out and do unless they are extremely dedicated."
Brad Aemisegger is the Executive Director for Toledo Public Schools and says "You think a bus driver just sits behind the wheel and drives a bus. There's a lot of little things that go into it. You're basically responsible for a 13 ton vehicle navigating the streets of Toledo with an average of 40 to 50 kids on board."
One of the growing challenges that bus drivers face is that almost every student on the bus has a cell phone and is more than willing to share things on social media instantly. "Right away they're taking pictures. They're sending text's home to mom," says Aemisegger. "Most students will have it on social media before the bus gets to the next stop," says Smith. There are camera's on the busses to ensure security for the drivers and the students, but the immediacy of social media ups the pressure on the situation.
Bus driving is also a split shift, with drivers going in early in the morning and having time off during the day until they go back to work for the afternoon shift. While some people like that, others need a 12-month full time position. As a result, many school districts are now offering drivers positions at the schools during the day to fill out their schedules. Pay for drivers is becoming more competitive at an average of $16 to $20 dollars an hour with some districts offering signing bonuses. The challenge to fill bus driver positions is becoming such an issue in some districts around the country that teachers are being offered the training as a way to earn extra income and fill a void in the district serve to get kids to and from school.