COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Colleton County School District is in desperate need of school bus drivers, officials said Monday.
The district is trying to hire 10 new drivers by January 1, 2013.
Officials said there's been a driver shortage for the last year and a half, but it's gotten worse in the last six months.
It is affecting students. Some are not getting to school on time.
"I'd say the latest probably 35 to 40 minutes at the most," said Transportation Director Arthur Mays.
The shortage has some parents shouting, including Paul Wirsching whose stepson had been riding the bus to high school.
"An hour late to school and he's an hour late coming home," Wirsching said.
Mays said his drivers have been forced to do double runs.
"We've been double loading. We get 'em to and from school the best we can."
Mays blamed the shortage in part on drivers who were fed up dealing with unruly children on their buses.
Some have quit, but on Monday, the South Carolina Dept. of Education held a class for folks who want become part of the fleet and get behind the wheel of a school bus.
"Our county is in a shortage. I also have two kids so I figure I have to help out my county," said La Toya Seabrook, who is taking a class to become a school bus driver.
"If that's what it takes to see them get their education then I'm willing to do it," said Annette Hamilton who's also hoping to become a bus driver.
Paul Wirsching isn't willing to wait. He's now driving his stepson to school.
"Because he can't miss school. I mean that's ridiculous," he said.
Mays said the starting pay for inexperienced drivers is about $9.00 an hour. He said the pay is higher for experienced drivers.