School districts short bus drivers days before classes set to begin

Posted at 3:30 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 18:38:37-04
Days away from school, districts are still needing drivers to transport children.
The I-Team found many areas are experiencing a bus driver shortage. A local veteran bus driver tells us it's frustrating being under staffed.
We found every county school district in our area is short on bus drivers.
"What it effects is on time delivery for our students," said Jim Beekman, Hillsborough School's Transportation Director.
Jim is short a hundred drivers just days away from school starting.
"Right now we're just at that threshold of where we have just enough drivers to cover the routes that we have. But if a driver's off sick or there's an emergency in their family and they're not there, it makes it very difficult to cover." Jim tells us.
He says he could be forced to make drivers double up routes.  
Either way it will require patience from parents.
Pinellas County is short about 50 drivers. However 24 are hoping to complete training soon.
"We probably won't have all 50 filled by day one, but by the end of September we're hoping to be totally filled of our commitment of drivers," said Rick McBride, Pinellas County School's transportation director.
Pasco needs 29 drivers, and Polk needs 60.
Average pay for bus drivers in Tampa Bay ranges from $11 and $12 an hour starting out.
Hillsborough County has been putting on job fairs to try and recruit drivers. In Pinellas this summer, a team of drivers hit the streets to beef up staff.
But even with each county conducting job fairs it's still difficult.
"And in some cases they just don't know about us. And so we've just gotta do a better job of getting out there and getting the word out there that we have these types of positions available," Jim said. 
Hillsborough County
100 drivers needed
Pay: Start at $12.71 per hour/ pay increases after training 
Pinellas County
50 drivers needed
Pay:  $12.23/hr during training & $13.46/hr after training
Pasco County
29 Drivers needed
Pay:   $12.05/hr starting
Polk County
60 drivers needed
Substitutes $10/hr  Appointed drivers $12/hr