Bus driver shortage continues in Leon County

Leon County Schools is dealing with a bus driver shortage. Photo courtesy: Leon County Schools Transportation Department Facebook.

Leon County Schools continues to search for more drivers in the midst of a bus driver shortage.

Just a month before the start of the school year last month, Leon County Schools was looking to fill almost 20 open positions. While some positions have been filled, the school district still hopes to fill between 15 to 20 available positions.

Johnnie Douglas, the project manager of recruitment, training and driver evaluation for the Leon County Schools Department of Transportation, says the department is “actively advertising” through various platforms every week to try to pull more drivers in.

“We acknowledge it’s not just a Leon County issue, this is something the state is dealing with and there is a national shortage, [so] it’s not just us. We are doing whatever we can to fulfill this driver shortage,” Douglas said.

Not only have some of the largest school districts in the state of Florida, including  Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties, over half of all the school systems in the state have reported a bus driver shortage, according to a recent survey.

Though far from the largest district in the state, Leon County has more than 30,000 students enrolled in the school district.

The coronavirus pandemic, which is a point of concern for most employees, does not help recruiting matters — especially as cases continue to surge throughout the state.

According to Yahoo, the pandemic helped prompt a labor shortage throughout the nation.

Many employees used the initial quarantine period as an opportunity to leave their past jobs either as a result of poor working conditions, to initiate a career change, or a number of other reasons.

Leon County has also reported shortages among other workers, such as educators and cafeteria staff.

Though there is no deadline as to when the county plans to have more bus drivers, Douglas said the local school district is using its resources to get as many people with a commercial drivers license to deliver and retrieve students safely from school.

For anyone looking to apply as a Leon County School District bus driver, visit the Leon County Schools Transportation website at www.leonschools.net/transportation.