In what they hope will remedy a severe bus driver shortage, the St. Tammany Parish School Board has announced it has relaxed the age requirements of new hires. Up until recently, applicants had to be at least 21 in order to apply for a bus driver job with the board.
But a combination of an unprecedented increase in students since the storm and a low pay scale for drivers has strained the system to its limits and brought it to what some would argue are crisis proportions.
Said one school board transportation official, “We simply had to do something. We have students who aren’t even getting to school because there aren’t enough buses to go around. And we are required by federal mandate to comply with the No Child Left Behind rules.”
The already overcrowded streets are made worse with parents forced to drive their kids to school. “These are hard working, tax paying parents. We owe them better.”
He went on to say, “Our pay may not be the greatest but our benefits are excellent and we hope by lowering the minimum age requirement, we can breathe new life into the Transportation Department. Ideally, the riders, the kids, will now have someone they can relate to. Someone closer to their age.”
The move appears to be paying off as the board has just announced it’s first, of what it hopes will be many, new hires. It’s this guy: