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In Colorado, school bus driver shortage persists; drivers say they do it for the kids

JeffCo Public Schools needs 83 drivers
School bus
Posted at 10:22 AM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 12:22:42-04

With the second quarter of the school year underway, school districts across Colorado are still struggling to hire bus drivers.

After holding numerous job fairs, JeffCo Public schools is still down 83 drivers and recently had to cut some routes.

Districts have raised pay for bus drivers to around $20 per hour, but many people with a commercial driver’s license can earn more working for other companies.

Albert Gallegos, a driver in JeffCo Public Schools, said he likes the flexibility of his job, and working with kids.

“Once you get into driving with these kids, it's hard to leave it,” Gallegos said.

His grandchildren encouraged him to come back to work as a bus driver six years ago.

Gallegos transports special needs students, and said he knows his job comes with a huge responsibility.

“They’re precious cargo,” he said.

Former Denver7 photojournalist Major King recently became a school bus driver for the Poudre School District. King said he took the job largely because it provides health insurance, but he also felt it was a way he could help serve a critical need.

“You do it because you want to make a difference in your community. There's such a tremendous need for bus drivers everywhere,” King said.

The Poudre School District is holding a bus driver hiring event on Nov. 8 at the new transportation facility at 2445 LaPorte Avenue in Fort Collins.