|Updated: 8/13 5:26 pm
||Published: 8/13 3:57 pm
A bus driver shortage is impacting Green Country schools, especially at Tulsa Public Schools.
TPS is 35 bus drivers short with classes starting a week from Thursday.
"Yes, it is a common problem. We look to fill it and reduce it every year," said Rosalyn Vann-Jackson, assistant director of transportation for the district.
TPS is actually doing a better job of that this year.
Vann-Jackson told FOX23 they were 40-45 drivers short when school started last year and had to combine five to 10 bus routes.
"Our first job is to make sure we have someone to drive the students to school," she said.
It's sometimes tough to hire bus drivers. They're part-time jobs with a starting salary of $9.35 an hour.
"It's very difficult because of the drivers that are on the road and making sure that the students are safe, the entire time you have your back turned to all of the students on the bus, and that might make someone nervous," she said.
It's not just a TPS problem either.
FOX23 called the Union, Jenks, Broken Arrow and Owasso school districts and found Owasso is the only one that has all its drivers hired.
Broken Arrow is looking for nine more drivers.
The district isn't afraid of not getting kids to school, but afraid of how the shortage will affect other employees' workloads when they are called in to substitute drive.
"When we do face a shortage like we're facing right now, we pull those folks in. The mechanics might get kind of a backload because they're having to drive school buses. If they're normally a routing coordinator, they might have to drive a bus for the first few days of school until we can find someone," she said.
TPS told FOX23 it has about five people going through bus driving training now and are getting a lot of applications.
People applying now won't work the first day of school, because training takes two weeks.