KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — They are the first school employees to greet your kids in the morning, and the last people to say good bye at the end of the day; bus drivers play an important role in the overall school experience.

Districts across the Miami Valley are dealing with a shortage, including West Carrollton City Schools. Devon Berry is the director of human resources for the district.

“We have a lot of turnover in those positions. I think we have a lot of competition in the private sector, so we continue to hire for those positions throughout the year,” Berry said.

In Kettering, the district is also still looking for drivers as we head into the new school year. Todd Silverthorn is the transportation supervisor for Kettering City Schools. He said they sometimes have to ask their office staff and their mechanics to cover routes.

“We need a minimum of six more drivers to be fully staffed from our vantage point. Currently, we have ten unassigned drivers that come in and sub for us every single day. But based off the trends over the past couple of years, we’re anywhere between 15 to 20 some people off any given day,” Silverthorn said.

Silverthorn said part of the shortage can be attributed to low pay and not being able to work a lot of hours. To address the ongoing issue, Kettering increased pay, guaranteed an extra hour of work, offered benefits, and will take care of the cost of training and certifications.

“Help with the hesitation of wanting to come on board because, I mean, let’s face it, who can shell out an additional $400 when you’re looking for a job?,” Silverthorn said.

While they continue to recruit applicants, school leaders ask for patience during a time where everyone is feeling the strain of staffing shortages.

“Everybody is doing everything we can to try to get those staffing levels up to where they need to be. Unfortunately, it’s just not happening as fast as what most of us would like,” Silverthorn said.

To learn more about the open bus driver positions at Kettering City Schools, call 937-499-1770 or click here.