Rio Rancho Public Schools dealing with serious bus driver shortage

Education

RIO RANCHO, NM (KRQE) – Rio Rancho Public Schools is in desperate need of bus drivers. The district said it’s dealing with their worst shortage in a decade. 

It’s all hands on deck for Rio Rancho Public Schools, as they try to solve their bus driver shortage.

“We have a number of our full-time staff driving buses,” said John Francis, Executive Director of Student Transportation for the district. “Everybody that can possibly drive the bus is driving a bus. We have four mechanics driving buses, we have office staff driving buses. My director, she’s driving a bus.”

Francis said the district has seen a decrease in drivers over the years. It currently has 59 drivers when it usually has 83. Francis said the lack of drivers has some students arriving 15, 20 minutes late for school, and said they are also getting home a lot later.

The situation is unacceptable in some parents’ minds. 

“You need to get there on time, so that’s an investment in their education, as well as getting home. They need to be with their families and get started on their homework, and have dinner and be together,” said Shannon Almodova. 

The district said it’s had trouble retaining drivers over the years, chalking it up to low wages. The starting pay is $13.52 an hour, which is lower than nearby districts like Albuquerque Public Schools, which starts at $17 an hour.

Francis said the district is doing everything it can to get more drivers. 

The district is having a finance committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss increasing rates for district bus drivers. However, any pay hike needs the school board’s approval. 

Francis said bus drivers need to have clean criminal and driving records.  You can apply for the open bus driver positions by clicking here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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