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North Texas schools are grappling with a bus driver shortage and parents are feeling the effects

Districts are offering a variety of incentives to fill open positions.

GARLAND, Texas — Several North Texas area schools are experiencing delays and reroutes as districts across the country grapple with a driver shortage. 

Garland ISD has an entire Twitter page devoted to updating parents and families on late buses. Friday morning, it posted more than 40 times bout reroutes or delays. 

Still, Garland mom Christine Miller told WFAA her child's bus has had delays that she hasn't seen posted online. 

Miller drives her son to school because of the shortage but said she let the bus take him back home earlier in the week.

"6:15 is what time he made it to the bus stop," she told WFAA. 

Another Garland mom, Ashley Martinez, said the late buses have made it challenging for her autistic son to keep with his routine. 

"On the second day of school, my son wasn't picked up until 9 a.m.," Martinez said. "And then wasn't dropped off until after 5 p.m." 

Garland ISD did not respond to requests for an interview, but Irving ISD Transportation Director Alejandro Mejia said in a zoom interview his district is doing everything possible ahead of Monday's start of school to keep up with the shortage.

"I'm sorry that we're in this situation," Mejia said. "Just know we're trying our best to get out of it as soon as we can." 

Right now, 30% of Irving bus driver positions are open. The job pays $22.70 an hour. 

It's possible your child's pick-up time will change, Mejia said, but added they still should get to school on time, as long as traffic cooperates. 

"In the morning is not as dire because we can start routes earlier," he said.

After school, though, Mejia said your child should be prepared to wait up to an hour. If you can pick your child up, you should. 

"If you can't, we understand no worries, we're trying all our best to make it happen. Again, we're not denying anyone transportation, we're doing what we can, except it might be a little late."

Mejia said his department is offering $1,000 bonuses for district employees who refer drivers and up to $750 worth of sign-on incentives. They've also taken up radio and digital ads to try to entice drivers. 

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