GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The first week of school can have its growing pains and for the largest school district in the state, the struggle this week has been finding school bus drivers. Gwinnett County is the 3rd largest transporter of students in the country, moving nearly 131,000 students each day. Right now they're short about 150 bus drivers, and they say it's putting a strain on the system.
So far this week, the school system has had to get creative with routes, lengthening some and having some drivers double up on routes just to cover the roughly 45,000 bus stops.
While this has been a problem in years past, the school system has been extra proactive this year trying to recruit new drivers. They've been advertising on websites and all over town and have even been sending home flyers to parents.
This Saturday Gwinnett County is even hosting its first ever job fair to recruit school bus drivers and hopefully ease the load being put on the staff right now.
"The lack of qualified school bus drivers is a problem school districts all over the country have been dealing with for years now," says Bernard Watson, the Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesperson. "What history has shown us is when the economy is doing really well…it's hard for school districts to find qualified school bus drivers however when the economy is not doing as well, it's a little bit easier."
Just because they are in the middle of a shortage, parents can be reassured that training for new drivers is still very extensive. They offer more than what the state and federal government actually require.
Gwinnett County Public Schools say they offer a very competitive package, drivers with no experience can start at about $15.42 an hour, plus benefits and pay you while you're training.
More information from GCPS on the Recruitment Fair happening on Saturday:
Gwinnett County Public Schools will host a Bus Driver Recruitment Fair on Saturday, August 11, from 8 a.m. to noon at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Road NW, in Suwanee. Our bus drivers enjoy competitive hourly wages, excellent benefits, paid training, and a great work schedule. Drivers work the student calendar year and enjoy the benefit of time off on student holidays and during the winter and summer breaks. Applicants are required to have a good driving record and a high school diploma or GED. For additional information on becoming a GCPS bus driver, call 678-225-7670. Interested individuals can learn more online at http://bit.ly/Drive4GCPS.