9 Investigates: Osceola County bus driver shortage makes students late

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - School has been in session for about eight weeks, but Osceola County is still about 39 bus drivers short, forcing the district to take drastic measures, including putting administrators behind the wheel—including the transportation director.

 

9 Investigates’ Karla Ray tested the wait time for students at Kissimmee Charter.

 

Students were at the bus stop on Simpson Road for 45 minutes as bus after bus passed by.

 

 

“Extreme wait times. It’s every day. From day one, the bus is never on time,” said parent Natalie Oliveri.

 

An unscheduled bus eventually picked up the students 12 minutes after class started with another 20 minutes ride ahead of them.

 

Video: School Bus Companies Facing Driver Shortage Nationwide

 

The issue isn’t just happening for Kissimmee Charter.

 

That’s the average daily delay, even with transportation director Shawn Tucker and his staff hopping behind the wheel of unstaffed buses.

 

Link: Apply to be a bus driver in Osceola County

 

“We’ve been running eight to 10 routes a day that we absolutely don’t have drivers for, said Tucker.

 

He said the delays can last 20 to 30 minutes. 

 

A recent job fair identified 18 potential drivers, but they still have to pass background checks and driving tests.

 

The problem is only expected to worsen as hundreds of Puerto Rican evacuees enroll in Osceola County schools.

 

No one can say how long the Kissimmee Charter students would have waited for their regular bus.

 

The delays in filling positions could cost taxpayers more in the long run as the drivers who are on staff rack up thousands in overtime.

 

Ray requested how much it will cost and is expected to get those numbers next week.

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