Horry County School District struggles with bus driver shortage, leaders consider pay raise

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County School District is working to attract more bus drivers amid an ongoing shortage.

School leaders are looking at ways to make salaries for bus drivers more competitive with areas like Georgetown county.

There are currently a dozen bus driver vacancies for Horry County Schools. Right now, the starting pay for bus drivers in the district is $12 per hour—that's nearly a dollar less than bus drivers in neighboring Georgetown County.

It's been a topic of conversation for some time now as the district looks for a solution to keeping fully-staffed bus drivers. Horry County Schools transportation officials say it's difficult to not only attract new drivers to the district, but keep the ones they already have.

"It's been an issue for a very, very long time. It's very difficult to keep drivers. Right now we attract mainly retired people which most of them are fantastic, but then again they come and go pretty quickly. We have very few from the ranges 25 to 50. We're looking for a more stable core of people that aren't looking to get out," said Jim Wright, Director of Transportation for Horry County Schools.

Wright added of the problem is they're also facing local competition which makes it difficult to bring in qualified bus drivers.

"We have a difficult time competing with Coastal Carolina University, and even a lot of these motels around here they operate shuttle services and things of that nature that gets them how many hours they want pretty much all year long," he said.

Wright says he expects to lose more bus drivers this summer, when they typically see around 30 bus drivers leave.

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