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Big change coming to Waco ISD to help combat bus driver shortage

School buses
Posted at 4:06 PM, Jun 10, 2024

WACO, Texas (KXXV) — For the first time in three decades, Waco ISD is taking transportation like busing into its own hands and bringing it in-house.

In the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN notice, released late last month by the Texas Workforce Commission, it says 94 layoffs were coming up between Waco ISD and GoldStar Transit.

When we saw the notice, we had questions for GoldStar Transit and Waco ISD.

A spokesperson for GoldStar Transit said this involves 63 Waco employees.

In a partial statement, a GoldStar Transit spokesperson said:

“Goldstar Transit has moved forward with the procedural WARN filing process, which is required to assist Waco ISD in transitioning 50 routes previously contracted to Goldstar to the District’s in-house transportation department for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year. This filing does not impact summer school routes through June 2024. We remain fully committed to supporting the transportation needs of local families."

Dr. Ricky Edison is Waco ISD’s Director of Transportation and said, “The last day of the contract for GoldStar Transit is June 30th. So with July 1st Waco ISD will be in charge of its own transportation.”

Dr. Edison said the change from GoldStar Transit is to help recruit more drivers and help combat a bus driver shortage within the district.

Right now Waco ISD needs 20 bus drivers.

Dr. Edison said one of the bigger recruiting tactics to get positions filled is upping pay rates by almost six dollars.

“$27 is the highest starting salary in the region here in Waco ISD,” Dr. Edison said. “We are in the process of transferring employees from GoldStar over to Waco ISD but we still need more drivers."

Dr. Edison said this is not a financial strain on the district and they already own the buses, but could it impact bus routes and students?

"As far as routes are concerned, we’re gonna look at all of that this summer, now that we have people specifically involved in routing, and so just be on the lookout," he said. "If anything were to change... we expect that to be a positive change.”

A shortage of bus drivers is a problem for many school districts across Texas and the country.

So much so that back in April, Congressman John Carter from Texas (TX-31) introduced the Driving Forward Act to get more qualified drivers behind the wheel.

Congressman Carter’s office told me the bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and that's where it currently stands.

Congressman Carter has previously told us that he’s hoping Congress will vote on the bill this summer.

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