Major bus driver shortage in San Jose Unified School District

Bay Area

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Shifts and schedules can vary, but on most days San Jose Unified School District can be as many as 15 drivers short of what is needed to bus some 3,000 kids to and from 90 different schools.

This and other districts are losing drivers to the tech sector, which also needs skilled bus drivers, says San Jose Unified’s Corrin Reynolds.

“They like hiring school bus drivers because they are trained and very safe, they are competent and know what they are doing,” said Reynolds, the bus fleet manager.

Reynolds says managers, dispatchers, even mechanics have been filling in amid new recruiting efforts to find and train new drivers.

Isabel Contreras-Iorizzo has been picking up extra shifts but has refused offers of more pay to drive a tech bus because she says “It’s all about the kids.”

“I enjoy the kids and they like me and I know they are going to get to school and home safely. I treat them as if they were my own,” said Contreras-Iorizzo.

San Jose Unified is losing 15-20 percent of it’s drivers every year. School bus drivers are paid about $18-22 dollars per hour.

Some of the tech companies reportedly pay twice that much. School districts simply cannot compete says Reynolds.

“I wish I could pay my driver’s another $10 an hour but we just can’t, but San Jose Unified does have really good benefits, we have medical and dental and life insurance and it all starts on day one,” Reynolds said.

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