CASTROVILLE, Texas — Growing enrollment compounded with an ongoing bus driver shortage has prompted the Medina Valley Independent School District to launch a monetary incentive plan for future hires and current staff behind the wheel.
The Medina Valley ISD Board of Trustees convened Friday morning for a special meeting, in which district officials laid out the monetary incentive plan with hopes to hire, train and retain school bus drivers.
“What we want to do with them is give them a $5,000 incentive that will be paid out over two years. It’s a scheduled payout over two years to try and get some more drivers in here,” said MVISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Caloss.
Rapid growth in the community combined with increased student enrollment has led to school transportation challenges as some parents are left scrambling how to get their children to school.
“You look at our bus riders. Right now, we have about a thousand more that are asking to be transported this year compared to last year,” Caloss said. “It’s important that kids are at school, so we need to do everything on our end to try and make that happen.”
MVISD emailed parents one week ago informing them that routes for bus 126 would be halted beginning Sept. 6 due to the bus driver shortage.
April Hoglund and her husband worried about what this would mean for their high school-age daughter who depends on school transportation.
“We told her (daughter) because we both work, we’ll probably have to drop you off between 6:30 and 7 in the morning,” Hoglund said.
Hoglund took to social media where other impacted parents began trying to figure out alternative solutions, such as organizing the carpools.
“All of us were just like, what are we going to do,” Hoglund said. “We weren’t just going to go and complain about it, we were also trying to figure out what can we do to alleviate the situation.”
Hoglund attended Friday’s school board meeting where the superintendent explained the district’s efforts to address the bus driver shortage.
Later in the morning, a school district official whom she had been in conversations with regarding the canceled bus route, emailed Hoglund with news that bus 126 will now have a driver on Tuesday.
“That’s a huge relief for us because we really were scrambling to figure out what are we going to do on Tuesday morning to get our child to school," Hoglund said.
Caloss noted the goal is to hire an additional 15 drivers through the incentive plan.
“It’s important that kids are at school, so we need to do everything on our end to try and make that happen,” Caloss said.
To learn more about bus driving opportunities at MVISD, click here.