Orange County school bus struggles continue for students as driver hiring event receives low turnout

100 positions open, 19 came out to hiring event Friday

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Oranger County father William Harper said once again he had to drive his son to school Friday morning after his son’s school bus never showed up.

We went to Orange County Public Schools to ask what is being done to get results for frustrated families, and they told us hiring is a part of the solution.

The school district is hosting three job fairs for the transportation department, including one on Friday.

Overseeing the job fair was Karen Ausberry, Senior Administrator for Business Services, and she said they had 19 candidates show up to the hiring event.

“We definitely have a need for at least 100 drivers,” Ausberry said.

It’s a need that’s resulting in delays at the bus stops, and late arrivals to schools.

[RELATED: 34 bus routes for Orange County schools without an assigned driver amid staffing issues | Orange County parent wants answers about ongoing school bus delays]

OCPS is offering an incentive, a sign-on bonus of up to $3,500. Ausberry said their hope was that the incentive would help to attract applicants.

With 100 openings and only 19 people who came to the job fair Friday, Ausberry called it a little disheartening.

However, she added they won’t give up and will continue to reach out to potential candidates.

News 6 also spoke with one of the applicants from the job fair, Lashaun Jackson.

Jackson said she has 20 years of driving experience, and said she hopes to be behind the wheel of a school bus soon.

Ausberry said training can take about 4 to 5 weeks.

While hiring may be the long-term solution, News 6 asked OCPS what can be done immediately to help.

In an email response OCPS Media Relations Manager Michael Ollendorff, said, “driver supervisors and trainers have picked up routes with the highest needs. Actual ridership is reviewed and some routes are adjusted or combined in an effort to maximize efficiency. In addition, we are asking families if they can drive their students to school or carpool, to please do so.”

The next job fair is on Monday at Horizon High School, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and another hiring event is scheduled for Sept. 20 at the Eric Olson Compound.

About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.