By Sylvia Gonzalez
ODESSA - The high paying wages in the oil and gas industry have caused many workers to leave their job and seek a new career in the oil industry. This has certainly been the case for Ector County Independent School District bus drivers.
To be fully staffed the district needs to have 149 bus drivers but they are currently 26 drivers short. That leaves only 123 drivers to cover 31 bus routes, but David Morris, Director of Transportation for ECISD, says that number is actually lower.
"Its not unusual to have 10, 15 or 20 out for any reason or another so that really makes our day challenging. We have a great group of people here that are doing their best to do double duty, whatever it takes to make sure our kids are taken care of, gotten to school and home," Morris said
Morris says with so many job opportunities in Odessa, it's hard to attract bus drivers but says that may be changing soon.
"Ector County ISD actually at this time is looking at some ways to enhance the bus driving situation, to maybe attract people to come and be drivers and keep the people we have here and keep them from going somewhere else, so we are exploring some things," Morris said.
Morris explained what it takes to be behind the wheel of a school bus.
"We want people with good driving record, no criminal history and somebody that enjoys working with kids, passes our drug and alcohol test. We wanna make sure we know who is in that bus with the kids," Morris said.