Hillsborough County Public Schools’ transportation department is hosting job fairs to support its search for school bus drivers.
Since the coronavirus, the transportation department has seen a decrease in drivers to take students to and from schools. To attract more drivers, the district raised salaries from $16.04 to $18.65 an hour in October 2023, in addition to benefits.
“The district has been very proactive in trying to get qualified people behind the wheel,” said Laura Hill, manager of transportation.
Bus drivers receive paid holidays, flexible schedules, paid trainings and guaranteed hours, among other benefits. Drivers will also have the opportunity to gain additional hours by transporting students to field trips and other school events.
“This is a wonderful job for families because they would actually be off during the summer time, be off during spring break and all the times when their kids aren’t at school. They would be able to spend time with their families,” she said.
Drivers must be CPR-certified, have their commercial driver’s license (CDL), school bus passenger endorsement and a clean driving history. Hill also said one of the most important requirements is being able to show they love children and have a passion for giving back to the community.
To help prospective drivers meet the requirements, the transportation department offers paid training as applicants get their CDL. It also will help drivers fill out their applications at job fairs.
Hillsborough County Public Schools is hoping to hire over 200 drivers. Right now, the county has 607 active routes, but it is still not enough to efficiently transport all students. Students are having to wait at school while drivers make two trips or cram into one bus.
Hillsborough County Public Schools is hosting a job fair at its transportation office in Thonotosassa on Saturday, February 3 from 8 a.m.-12 Noon and at Sumner High School on Thursday, February 8 from 4-7 p.m. Future job fairs will be listed at www.hillsboroughschools.org/drive.
If prospective bus drivers cannot make either job fair, they can stop by the Hillsborough County Public Schools transportation office. For more information and to apply, visit www.hillsboroughschools.org/drive.