El Paso County school districts still struggling with bus driver shortage; offering incentives for drivers
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - All major El Paso County school districts are still struggling with the continued nationwide bus driver shortage. To help hire more drivers, the districts are offering competitive incentives.
The largest school district in southern Colorado, Academy District 20, starts the new school year next week. As of now, D-20 has not had to cut any routes but may have some trouble if a bus driver needs a day off or calls out sick.
“Having a full staff across the district is obviously a dream, but our bus drivers play such an important role. They are the first hello that some of our students see,” said Krystal Story of D-20.
District 11 also begins school next week and had to restructure its bus routes to “be more efficient, yet still provide transportation to all students who qualify,” said spokesperson Devra Ashby.
District 49 already started school in early August, and it had to reduce bus routes by 14 in the last two school years, while identifying safe walking distances around schools that no longer receive transportation support.
“We can no longer offer cross-zone and choice busing. With current staffing levels, we can only support about half of our field trip requests,” said spokesperson Dave Nancarrow.
To attract drivers, each major district has offered incentives:
Academy District 20: $2,000 for all new bus drivers, who receive half of the money after training and the other half after completing one year in the district. Also, employees can receive $50 per month for perfect attendance, and if working on or before Sept. 30, 2022, employees will receive a $750 retention incentive in October 2022.
D-20 is hosting a job fair Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Education and Administration Center (1110 Chapel Hills Drive). To apply to D-20, click here.
District 11: $2,500 signing bonus for all new bus drivers, plus a one-time four-percent payment in November of this calendar year, and another one-time payment for all employees in March.
D-11 is hosting on-the-spot hiring at their Aug. 11 150-year kick-off event from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Gerry Berry Stadium (2020 Glenn Summer Road). To apply to D-11, click here.
District 49: $1,000 driver sign-on stipend and a $250 safety stipend. District employees, including drivers, will receive a retention stipend around Thanksgiving break.
To apply to D-49, click here.
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