most licensed drivers have gotten jobs in the Eagle Ford oil fields
As Texas schools prepare for the opening of classes August 27th, they’re facing an unexpected problem. There as a major shortage of school bus drivers, because most people who have the Commercial Drivers License required to drive a school bus are heading south, for jobs in the Eagle Ford Shale, 1200 WOAI news reports.
“Apparently, the pay is much much greater,” Pascual Gonzalez of the Northside ISD says.
A large school district like Northside needs enough drivers to operate a fleet of more than 800 school busses every day, and right now, they’re going into the start of the school year short several dozen drivers.
“Our contingency is that our management staff, who have Commercial Drivers Licenses, will be behind the wheel of the bus,” Gonzalez said.
With the pipeline system incomplete in the Eagle Ford, there is a huge demand for truck and heavy equipment drivers who can haul the oil to coastal terminals, and bring in the parts needed to build the fracking rigs.
“Folks who have Commercial Drivers Licenses are heading for opportunities in the Eagle Ford shale industry,” he said.
Producers in the Eagle Ford are also desperate for drivers, and are offering starting salaries of between $60,000 and $70,000 a year, pay that a school district can’t match for the stressful work of driving a school bus.
Gonzalez says school bus drivers receive full time benefits for doing a part time job, which should attract some people. He said the district is so desperate, it will take steps it has never taken before.
“If they don’t have a Commercial Drivers License, we will help them get it,” he said.