SAN ANTONIO – Driving a school bus is a critical, ever-changing job with high turnover. That's why districts are looking for new drivers to get kids to and from school safely and on time.
The first step to students' success is getting them to school safely.
For 26 years, children have walked up school bus steps to see Miss Jackie Washington's smiling face.
Washington said she adores her job driving San Antonio Independent School District buses.
"It's special because we handle the most precious cargo, which is the children," she said.
It's a crucial job, but it has a lot of turnover.
"We have a variety of people here, because some are college students, retirees, some people just need a part-time job," Washington said.
That's why school districts always need new bus drivers.
"We have so many students, and the schools are always changing. The routes are changing. The people are changing, so we always need bus drivers," Washington said.
Backup drivers are constantly used for field trips, when someone calls in sick or when a driver needs a bus monitor.
San Antonio ISD has 160 drivers, 21 back up drivers and needs up to 20 more.
Northeast ISD has 275 drivers and needs 15 more.
Northside ISD has 478 drivers, 203 driver's assistants and needs 50 more drivers.
Harlandale ISD has 44 drivers and needs four more.
La Vernia ISD has 17 drivers and needs six more.
Driving an enormous bus filled with children may seem daunting, but Washington tells people not to be intimidated.
"Come on down. We have training. They'll train you how to use the bus. They'll run the routes with you," Washington said.
Starting pay varies from district to district:
SAISD pays $13.75 per hour and offers incentives.
North East ISD pays $13.13 per hour.
Northside ISD pays $14.30 per hour.
Harlandale ISD pays $13.90 per hour.
La Vernia ISD pays $13.27 per hour.
Most districts pay for a driver's commercial driver's license training.