DeKalb County schools offering incentives to fill 150 open bus driver positions

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County needs to fill 150 bus driver positions, and they’re offering cash and other incentives to get people behind the wheel.

Some parents have gotten so frustrated with the bus delays the shortage has caused – their kids don’t ride the bus anymore.

But there are 60,000 kids who need to ride the bus, and 600 drivers are working hard to fill in the gaps and get those students where they need to be.

The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) held a breakfast with bingo Wednesday morning to show their appreciation for the current drivers.

That’s where Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes sat down with a driver who has been on the job for 43 years.

“I let students know that, no matter what happens, follow my direction because your parents have put you in my hands,” bus driver Henry Mercer said.

He started driving buses for DeKalb County in 1980 and he still loves it.

“I get a great feeling, joy every day with my students. All of them, yes, even the ones that may be difficult. Yes we get along, we work through that,” Mercer said.

The district raised the hourly wage to nearly $21 an hour.

They’re offering a $2,500 signing bonus and they’re paying for commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

Fatemia Youmans just started training a week ago.

“That’s a plus that DeKalb County helps you get your CDL, and then you can start driving school buses. I tried to find a job where I can still be a mother. When they get out of school, I can be a full-time mother, cook, clean, homework, so yes the hours are amazing,” Youmans said.

DCSD has a free app that allows parents to track their children’s school buses.

Only 10% of parents currently use it.

Read the article on WSBTV.