MELISSA, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Many school districts across North Texas and the country are dealing with a bus driver shortage.
Carroll, Garland and Princeton ISD are some examples.
Melissa ISD is one district that said it has not been affected.
About half of the school district’s students rely its transportation services and district leaders believe they have found a way to retain drivers while attracting new ones.
After years of relying on printout directions, bus driver David King is now using technology from the Plano-based company Tyler Tech.
It stores all of his routes on his tablet and offers GPS turn-by-turn navigation.
Additionally, every student that rides the bus has been given an ID card that corresponds with the tablet and tracks when they enter and exit the bus.
“If maybe they got off at the wrong campus, then we can track all of that,” he said.“It helps immensely! When I didn’t have this it was a little difficult to track student, where they were and what bus they rode.. if they got on to the wrong bus.”
“It’s really a game changer for our organization and saves us a lot of time,” Melissa ISD Director of Transportation Jared Castor said. “It has also really helped us out and been a selling point for us when hiring and sustaining our employees.”
A recent nationwide survey from the National School Transportation Association and other transportation focused groups shows half of student transportation coordinators currently describe their school bus driver shortage as severe or desperate.
Castor said not only has he been able hold on to his drivers, but he’s also been able to hire new ones this year.