Local school districts hit roadblock, search for bus drivers

By Megan Wehring
HAYS COUNTY — School districts in Hays County are in dire need of more bus drivers.
The nationwide bus driver shortage has now reached Hays CISD (HCISD) and Dripping Springs ISD (DSISD). HCISD has 30 driver positions open and DSISD has 12 that they are hoping to fill.
Drivers are forced to double up the routes or circle back to run another route, causing a delay in pick-up and drop-off times. While some parents are concerned that buses have reached overcapacity, every student has a seat, according to HCISD chief communications officer Tim Savoy.
“People have reached out to the transportation department wondering why the buses are running late,” Savoy said. “The challenge is the people who would normally be answering those emails or calls are out there driving the buses. It’s all hands on deck.”
Recruiting and retaining transportation staff has been difficult for both school districts. Savoy said HCISD competes with driving companies like Amazon and Uber, among other employment agencies.
DSISD transportation director Pam Swanks said she has heard from drivers that prolonged shift hours, a long commute to work twice a day and traffic concerns could affect the shortage.
With more than half of HCISD students riding the bus every day, Savoy said bus drivers are crucial to the education team.
School districts are actively recruiting interested drivers to apply, even those who may be looking for something to do during retirement.
“Driving for DSISD keeps me active during retirement,” said Michael Smith, DSISD driver, “and gives me a feeling that I am contributing something of value to our community by keeping the kids safe.”
For more information about specific job descriptions, please visit https://www.hayscisd.net/ and https://www.dsisdtx.us/.

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Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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