DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Today the Dallas Independent School District is holding a hiring fair looking only for bus drivers, as the district takes over its own student transportation.
With only six weeks until the start of school the DISD has already hired some 630 drivers from Dallas County Schools, but that's not enough.
The DISD has a fleet of 1,000 school buses to transport some 35,000 students. Those buses lack drivers since the Dallas County Schools (DCS) bus agency was abolished. DCS had provided service to a number of school districts, so now Cedar Hill, Dallas, Irving, Richardson and other ISDs are responsible for their own student transportation.
The Dallas ISD needs 150 drivers and today they're opening the hiring process to qualified applicants from the public. Dr. Kayne Smith, the executive director of DISD transportation, said, "Now we're at the point of looking at external applicants, people who are interested in coming to Dallas ISD to drive a school bus who may have never driven a school bus before."
The pay for drivers is more than $16 an hour and they'll work six hours a day, but Smith says that might not be the most rewarding part for those who land a job. "I firmly believe that a bus driver is an educator and I believe that they are the beginning point of a student's educational day. If it's not for these buses here they may not have a way to school."
There is a driver shortage so a number of school districts across North Texas have had to provide additional incentives to recruit drivers -- like bonuses and increased pay rates for perfect attendance.
"It's not something a lot of people wake up in the morning saying -- 'I want to drive a school bus,'" Smith said. "So, it's important for us to try and get our message out that this is an excellent career opportunity."
Drivers will go through a background check and their driving records will be reviewed. They will also need to have a Class B CDL license, but administrators say those without one shouldn't be dissuaded because paid training is available.
The Dallas ISD hiring fair is being held today and tomorrow, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., at 5151 Samuell Boulevard and on-site interviews will be conducted.
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