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Osceola County school district stuggles with bus driver shortage

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The Osceola County School Board is struggling with how to staff its buses. Photo: School District of Osceola County via Facebook

The Osceola County school district is struggling to hire enough bus drivers.

Despite its best efforts, the district is 50 drivers short.

It pays $13.80 an hour with benefits, though some drivers get only six hours on a split schedule.

Transportation Director Arby Creach says he’s competing with private employers that require a Commercial Driver’s License. Those jobs sometimes pay a lot more.

One new employee walked out Tuesday morning after getting a CDL through the district and doing a single route.

“A CDL costs between three and five thousand dollars privately to get,” Creach told board members on Tuesday. “So school districts are known as CDL mills so to speak in some cases, which is terrible. So they’ll come in, do the pretend thing for a couple of weeks, get that license and out the door they go.”

The board is looking at options like partnering with LYNX to transport some students and negotiating a sign-on bonus to be paid out over multiple years.

A recent survey by three national trade organizations found that the bus driver shortage is a problem for 99% of school districts. And 51% consider it a “severe” or “desperate” concern.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.