Now feeling the effects of the national shortage in available bus drivers to transport students to school, the Tangipahoa Parish School System is taking a proactive approach to identify, train, and ultimately hire the drivers they need to keep their buses rolling.
In the aftermath of COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida, Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said her district is struggling to find substitute bus drivers.
On any given school day, the district needs 270 bus drivers on the road, but personnel shortages have forced the school system to exhaust all the resources they have, including certified substitutes, on local bus routes.
Over the last two weeks, the district has had a handful of cases when buses had to be parked due to lack of drivers. The parish has also delayed the start of its after-school program to second semester because they do not have the number of bus drivers they will need to bring students home later in the evening.
To remedy the problem, Tangipahoa is offering free training to grow their driver pool. As of Thursday, more than 30 individuals are taking part in a two-week bus “in service” training. From there, it will take approximately three weeks for applicants to be certified to drive their own bus.
The district has also increased its compensation for bus drivers. Starting pay is $19.84 per hour, and a driver is guaranteed that rate on five hours of work per day.
Another training class will begin shortly after this one concludes, and interested individuals can sign up now to reserve their spot. Email at email@example.com to get your name on their list for the next round of training.