WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- A big problem continues to get bigger for Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools – a lack of available school bus drivers.
The district started the school year down 20 bus drivers.
Now, the void is even worse.
WSFCS needs to fill 32 open bus driver positions after losing a dozen drivers since school started.
As a result, WSFCS Transportation Director Darrell Taylor says students are having longer days because of the driver shortage.
Right now, all the bus drivers that working for Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools are having to share routes to get the kids where they need to go.
That means some drivers are having to go back and forth between two, three or even four schools.
Taylor says they’ve received a lot of complaints from parents about kids getting to school late and getting home late.
"The biggest part is the kids not getting home quicker. That really bothers me,” said Taylor. “I'd like for them all to get home just as quick as they can. But it's just not possible with the shortage that we have. Some routes are going to be longer."
In total, more than 38,000 students take the bus in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School district.
For all those kids, there are just 330 bus drivers.
Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools says they've used billboards, job fairs, and social media to recruit new drivers.
But Taylor says when the economy is good, people look for better jobs elsewhere.
"They will tell us that they just don't like all the responsibility and the pressure of a timed route where they have to be at stops and all,” said Taylor. “They say this is just not what we thought it was."
Winston-Salem Forsyth County is not alone when it comes to a bus driver shortage.
As of Friday, Guilford County Schools is still looking to hire 25 bus drivers.
Alamance- Burlington Schools needs 13 new bus drivers.
The starting salary for a bus driver in Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools is $13.64 an hour which is the third highest rate in the state.
For details on how to apply, click here.