The Polk County School District is facing a major bus driver shortage.
Days from the start of the new school year, the district is looking to fill positions for 60 to 70 bus drivers.
When asked, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Rob Davis agreed.
“It’s one of the worst years I’ve seen,” he said.
As buses head out the first day of school, many drivers will be dealing with longer routes and some will be pulling double duty.
The district is asking parents to drive their kids to school for a few weeks so they aren’t late for school.
“If they’re at the bus stop we’re going to pick them up. Now they may be delayed,” Davis told WFLA.
“I got an email from the Polk County School Board to help out, that we may need to take the children to school,” parent Nikita Courtney said.
“If the bus is going to be late or if there is going to be a shortage of drivers, I’m going to have to get them there so that they can get their education.”
For Courtney, that means being late for work.
“It is going to inconvenience me as far as getting to work on time,” she said.
Polk County is not the only district in desperate need of bus drivers. Pasco County needs 54 drivers.
Transportation officials say they’re dealing with a growing number of students. They also attributed the shortage to higher paying jobs driving people away.
“We feel that our starting pay is lower and we are working on trying to up that starting pay,” Davis said.
He expects the shortage to last at least a few weeks.
Parents can find current bus delays information by visiting polk-fl.net and searching for keyword “bus delays.”
Those interested in becoming bus drivers or bus attendants should visit polk-fl.net/employment or call 863-534-7300 or 863-534-7298.