Northside ISD looks to ease driver shortage

District among those offering guaranteed hours, free training to entice drivers

SAN ANTONIO – Northside ISD’s McClung Transportation Center is a busy place these days, from prepping buses for students to training drivers.

“We’re getting ready. Our bus drivers are currently getting their CDL physicals and going through training. We’ll do some refresher courses next week,” said Tesilia Garza, NISD’s transportation director.

At the same time, the district needs more drivers to fill those trainings. They’re short about 60 drivers ahead of students returning to classes on Aug. 23. It’s a common problem for school districts and Garza said the pandemic initially made things worse.

“Once the shot was put in place, we did see people coming back. They felt safer with the shot, but we still have a high shortage of drivers,” she said.

Northside is touting its guarantee of 32 hours per week, which makes drivers full-time and eligible for benefits and free CDL training as a way entice potential drivers.

“The bus is the very first classroom the child enters every day,” Graza said. “The bus driver most times is the first and the last Northside employee that the kids see, so we have an ability to make an impact on the lives of the kids.”

The district is hosting a job fair on Monday, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Northside Activity Center. It’s on 7001 Culebra Road.

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About the Author:

Samuel King anchors traffic during GMSA and reports on transportation and mobility issues across the San Antonio region. He joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2020 from KUT in Austin. Samuel was born in Queens, spent time growing up in South Alabama and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.