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DeKalb County Schools incentives attract more bus drivers, still down 100

Since offering bus driver incentives in mid-September, the district said it has hired 37 new drivers.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — With the school year half over, DeKalb County Schools is still experiencing a bus driver shortage.

The DeKalb County School District has been in desperate need of bus drivers throughout the pandemic.

In mid-September, the district began offering incentives as many drivers called out of work.

Since then, district leaders said 37 new drivers have been hired, bringing the total number of drivers in DCSD to 759.

According to a district spokesperson, DCSD has 859 total bus routes, which means they still need to hire 100 drivers to operate at full capacity.

"We are thankful for our dedicated drivers and we will continue to look for ways to tackle this national crisis," district officials said in a statement.

Cassandra White has a 9th grade son at Druid Hills High School.  She said in September, some parents were contacted by schools about the driver shortage and asked to make alternate transportation plans for students, if possible.

“Thankfully that hasn’t happened in a while,” White said.  “The past couple of weeks have been pretty good, yesterday, for example, they were something like an hour-and-a-half late. I don't know if that was just a fluke or what, but it has been better.”

The incentives for new drivers include $2,000.  Additionally, any new hire who is vaccinated can earn $1,000.

DeKalb Schools Transportation Division is also adding an additional $1,200 of paid training.

“I think that can help a lot, you know, increasing the pay and increasing benefits to incentivize what is a very difficult job,” White said.

The district said it starts bus drivers out at $15.55 per hour; they are also looking to hire bus monitors.

Those interested in positions can apply here.