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Bus driver shortage gets real for many districts; Inside Frisco ISD's plan to attract drivers

Frisco ISD, like many school districts around, is hoping to fill bus driver, crossing guard, and bus monitor positions.

FRISCO, Texas — We are now just days from the start of the school year and districts are scrambling to get ready. Frisco ISD, like many school districts around, is hoping to fill bus driver, crossing guard, and bus monitor positions.

"This isn't just a Frisco ISD challenge, it's something that's happening nationwide," said Jerad Castor, the Managing Director of Transportation at the district.

The district is currently down 23 bus drivers to take on school routes. Castor says the district has put out posters and flyers hoping to recruit. To drive the larger capacity buses a Class B Commercial Drivers License is required and the district, like many others, does pay for the training.

"We start off basic and then we build and build and build and it takes about 3 weeks," said trainer Rayna Biffle.

Ernest Sherman spent 31 years in law enforcement and is retired and now training to be a Frisco ISD bus driver. He says 'service' is in his blood and this next step was a natural fit.

"Try something new. I will do the best job I can to get them from Point A to Point B in a safe and effective manner," said bus driver trainee Sherman.

Districts have upped the ante on perks and beyond just a signing bonus. In Frisco, not only are they offering a $22/hour salary and $1,000 signing bonus, employees can enroll their kids in the district even if they live outside it. The district will also allow drivers to bring their kids with them on routes.

"That allows them to make money with not having to pay for child care," said Castor.

Districts will be on the hunt to fill much-needed positions in the coming weeks. Castor reminds people that school, for some students, starts before they even enter a classroom.

"Our drivers and monitors are some of the first people our kids see every single day," said Castor.

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