TULSA, Okla. — Several school districts across Green Country are looking to fill dozens of bus driver jobs amid a continued shortage.
Bixby Public Schools canceled classes across the district Wednesday to train bus drivers on alternative routes.
Bixby Public Schools Superintendent Rob Miller says 8 drivers are out this week because of Covid-19, other medical issues, and personal reasons. Superintendent Miller says it's about 20% of their transportation staff.
The district says they'll be running a modified schedule through Friday November 12th. Superintendent Miller says over the next 7 days, families will have one day where they're responsible for getting their kids to school themselves.
"We know this is an inconvenience for many of our families so we're going to work through this as quickly as we can, but that's just our new normal with Covid-19 and staff shortages. We're having to be creative and run through this," said Superintendent Miller.
To see how your routes at Bixby Public Schools will be impacted: Supt Message: School Closure & Alternate Bus Schedule | Bixby Public Schools (bixbyps.org)
Bixby Public Schools is one of several districts dealing with bus driver shortages.
Owasso Public Schools needs 5 drivers. If you're interested in driving with the district you can call the transportation office at 918-272-2231 or visit their employment website at https://www.applitrack.com/owasso/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Support+Staff+-+Transportation.
Union Public Schools needs 6 bus drivers. They're offering a $2,000 sign on bonus for drivers. The district says that has helped them significantly.
Jenks Public Schools needs 11 bus drivers. The district says they're consolidating some routes and actively recruiting drivers. If you're interested you can call JPS Transportation at 918-299-4415 ext. 5702.
Broken Arrow Public Schools needs 20 drivers. The district says they have 6 drivers in training and 5 that just passed their licensure exam.
At Tulsa Public Schools, the district needs 20 drivers right now.
Steve Blakley, Director of Transportation at Tulsa Public Schools, says currently they have 37 less drivers than before the pandemic. They've reduced their number of routes from 144 to 104.
"Which means that we are covering the same area of the city for our schools but we now have longer routes. We have more frequent stops. The routes start earlier in the morning and they end later in the afternoon," said Blakley.
He says they're working to hire more drivers so they can be more efficient. They're offering a 12-month contract and a $500 signing bonus that's paid out after two months.
If you're interested in driving with TPS you can visit https://www.tulsaschools.org/careers.
2 News Oklahoma's Naomi Keitt asked Superintendent Rob Miller about the reason behind the shortages. He said the licensing test is very difficult and people have reservations about driving because of the pandemic. Superintendent Miller says he wants to work with the state to find new ways to incentivize new drivers.
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