The School District of Lee County experiences bus driver shortage. Pay increase expected to attract more candidates
LEE COUNTY, Florida — The School District of Lee County school board is meeting on Tuesday to talk about how to get more people to work as school bus drivers.
The board is looking at short-term incentives to help meet the need for school bus drivers and transportation help.
In order to find more school bus drivers and people to help with transportation, the board wants to do the following from February 27, 2023, to February 26, 2024, to get more people interested:
1. Pay $347.50 per bus driver to cover the costs of hiring someone to drive a school bus or help with transportation. (This price could drop by $117.00 if the TB test doesn’t need an x-ray.) Many people who want to apply can’t afford to pay these fees.
D.O.E. Physical Exam $74.00
TB Test/X-ray $155.00
CDL License $68.25
If the school bus driver or transportation assistant leaves their job before a year is up, for any reason, like quitting, getting fired, or getting transferred, the District will take the costs of becoming a school bus driver or transportation assistant out of their last paycheck. The District will pay for these costs.
2. Get rid of the requirement that you have a high school diploma or an equivalent to become a transportation support. This requirement was taken away for school bus operators and transportation support in June 2018. By not making this a requirement to become a transportation support, the District will be able to hire a driving candidate first as a substitute transportation support and then as a substitute school bus operator once all criteria are met. To get their CDL Permit, people who want to drive a school bus must pass four tests at the DMV: the General Knowledge, Air Brakes, Passenger, and School Bus exams. To pass these tests, you have to study, and this makes sure that the applicant is ready for the District Bus Operator Training Course. Students won’t be in any danger because of this waiver.
3. Give a $100 bonus to any District employee who sends an applicant who gets hired and works for 30 school days as a Bus Operator.