by Kim Powell
ECTOR COUNTY - Bus drivers aren't the only thing the Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) is low on; the district is also struggling to fill teaching positions. However, they want parents to know that it's a work in progress.
The first day of school; new backpacks and pencils, new clothes and old friends, something most look forward to as the summer winds down. Except this year, parents might notice a headache with getting kids to and from school, that's because ECISD is facing the biggest bus driver shortage in its history.
"Even in the best years, we never fill every single driver or position, but to be at 48 is really extreme," ECISD spokesperson, Mike Adkins, said.
With 48 bus drivers short, the biggest worry is if someone has to call in sick because that could put delays on various routes.
"We may wind up with some delays, we may wind up with some routes running a little late and we are stretching thin with drivers. So if it's possible for a parent to drive their child to school, we encourage them to do that," Adkins said. "Because of the shortage we're in right now, our office is going to be driving buses from the transportation department."
Because of this, there may not be anyone to answer the flood of phone calls that are expected during the first few weeks of school.
However, bus drivers aren't the only thing ECISD is lacking--they're also short nearly 100 teachers.
"We just have to be really creative right now because of the lack of teachers, the lack of space, everything," Adkins said.
The district has been constantly recruiting for teachers to come to the basin, but with the housing market the way it is, many turn down the job.