KISSIMMEE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Osceola County School District is down nearly 50 bus drivers, causing delays picking students up and dropping them off from school.
Even top managers in the department, like transportation coordinator David King, are getting behind the wheel to try and make up for the shortage.
“Everyone who has a CDL is driving a bus – including me,” he explained.
He says the department has 47 open bus driver positions.
“This is probably the most we’ve had since I’ve been here. I’ve been here, this is my 10th year,” King said. “We’ve had turnover, retirements, we’ve got people on FMLA, people on leave of absence.”
It’s led to constant delays.
“School starts at 8:30 – and he’s missing half or all of his first class,” one woman said about her 5-year-old grandson.
She says he’s been getting picked up late a lot recently. Monday, she says he was dropped off after dark.
“It’s really hard when your child gets out at 3:20 and it’s 6 o’clock when he arrives at home,” she said.
King says the department is talking with the district about pay and working hard to recruit. He says they’re even sending employees to the airport to meet with Puerto Ricans moving to central Florida who are looking for jobs.
“We’ve had probably seven or eight leads come through,” King said about the effort.
But filling the force isn’t going to happen overnight. So for now, King says they’re doing the best they can with all the people they have.