The CCISD still suffers from the shortage of school bus drivers

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Before Jerrilyn Moore boarded her school bus, she checked that the stop signs outside the bus were working.

She opened the hood of the bus to make sure there was the right amount of liquid.

For Moore, it’s a daily routine before getting on the bus. Once on the bus, she will check the gauges and the seats of the bus.

Driving the school bus is a passion for Moore, a passion that helps him connect with students.

“We have to show that we care about them and I do. I love my job,” Moore said.

Moore usually takes students to three of the Corpus Christi Independent School District campuses, but due to the district’s shortage of bus drivers, she has to pick up more schools.

“We may have to help each other. We didn’t have to do that as much last year,” she said.

CCISD transport director Kyle Pelichet said they had around 84 bus drivers but needed around 120.

He said they had a shortage of drivers since last year because drivers will be retiring and new ones are compensating those who leave.

To alleviate the shortage of drivers, operating staff and vehicle technicians will replace bus drivers, he said.

Some of them regularly, and some as substitutes. This allows them to cover all bus lines.

Pelichet said to attract more drivers, the district raised the pay for the job — with no experience — from $15 to $18.

He added that they are also paying drivers in the summer when they are off and increasing the minimum working hours to 30.

Brandon Vera has been a school bus driver for about four years and has said he’s wanted to be a driver since he was little.

Due to the shortage of drivers, he had to work more shifts for school trips and school activities.

“There are more routes because there are new campuses opening up. We have to help each other, like it’s one team,” Vera said.

However, even with the shortage, they go the extra mile.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Moore said.

Vera echoed similar thoughts and said what makes the job interesting is seeing the kids.

“You can drive a school bus and see all the happy faces and you’re making a difference in transporting those students,” he said.

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