Dripping Springs ISD is facing a shortage of bus drivers. There are 33 employed drivers, but the district is in need of 20 more to reach a fully staffed team of 53 drivers as of April 19, according to Director of Transportation Pam Swanks.

The shortage comes amid a rapidly growing district. Three campuses are overcapacity, including Dripping Springs Elementary School, Walnut Springs Elementary School and Sycamore Springs Middle School. These campuses experienced growth up to 14.4% over the past academic year, according to DSISD officials.

“Coupled with the growth and not adding staff we've just found ourselves in a critical situation,” Swanks said. “This past summer, we actually had to reduce the area we could service. We just did not have the drivers to service as many families as we did in years past.”

Last summer, DSISD implemented no-service zones for each campus in the district. These zones are determined by proximity to campuses. Students farther out from campuses are more likely to receive bus services than students closer to their assigned campus.

“The impact is more parents having to take their kids to school and pick them up,” Deputy Superintendent Elaine Cogburn said. “That puts more cars on the road, which exacerbates traffic problems in our area.”

On average, it takes about 13 weeks to train a new bus driver. A driver does not need prior experience to apply and will be trained by the district to receive their commercial driver’s license, according to Swanks.

“We really need to be hiring people in May to have them ready to drive for us in August,” Swanks said.

Some additional solutions district officials might consider if unable to hire 20 more bus drivers may include:
  • After-school care for students
  • Double runs, meaning a bus driver would take a group of students on a route and return for another group
  • Alternate service, meaning no-service zones wouldn’t last a whole school year but would change
  • Recruiting and job incentives
“The best solution and the most sustainable solution is that we're able to get more people in the community to come and serve in this role,” Swanks said. “That's going to be the sustainable long-term solution.”

Anyone interested in applying to be a bus driver, bus monitor or bus mechanic for DSISD is encouraged to apply online.