NewsPinellas County


Parents left scrambling after 75 school bus drivers call off work, causing delays

Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 09, 2018

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Parents were left scrambling Friday afternoon to figure out how to get their children home from school. 

A bus driver shortage in Pinellas County caused widespread delays with dozens of drivers calling off work. 

"It messes up all of our schedules," said parent Dana Lawrence. 

Lawrence had to leave work early after learning her son, Cade, was still at Bay Point Elementary an hour after the final bell. 

"I felt kind of scared and I felt like something might be wrong at school," said Cade, 9. 

A robo-call went out to some parents Friday warning buses were delayed leaving school due to a "significant increase" of drivers calling out. 

"The whole transportation since we've been at the Pinellas County schools has been tough," said Lawrence. "I've made numerous phone calls and don't get many answers, really."

According to district officials, typically between 20 and 30 school bus drivers call out daily. ABC Action News has learned, that number more than doubled Friday, with close to 75 drivers calling out. 

"Now, it's just frustrating because I'm trying to coordinate their after-school programs and everything else based on that bus coming on time," said Jo Davidovic, a Bay Point Elementary parent. 

District officials cannot say specifically what's behind Friday's spike in bus drivers calling out of work. 

The district is holding a hiring fair to recruit more bus drivers next week. Potential candidates can apply online year-round.