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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What do you expect Hillsborough County?

Some news from the Tampa Tribune

TAMPA - Low pay, unruly students and four hours at a time without a break have combined to deplete the ranks and morale of Hillsborough County's school bus drivers.

If the school district does not bring in new hires soon and keep them, drivers said, student safety and bus schedules will suffer. Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia ordered a study and called the problem serious but said she expects no major changes this year.

Schools will open Aug. 3 with a shortage estimated at 130 bus drivers and 17 mechanics across a fleet of buses that numbers 1,100. Half of the anticipated 196,000 students, up about 5,000 from last year, will ride buses to school.

A report last month from the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based national organization, labeled the Hillsborough school district's transportation department as deficient. The report recommended that a plan to recruit and retain drivers be in place in time to ensure that 150 additional drivers are on the job by August.

That won't happen. The district has proposed a new pay plan that includes more money for drivers with experience outside the district. The school board also will be asked today to appoint a top administrator to work with a transportation consultant, said Ken Otero, the district's chief of staff.

"We may find out there's nothing we can do," Otero said. "I don't think that will happen."

Meantime, no one is lining up for the $9.85-an-hour starting pay.

Somehow I don't see there being many takers either.

The Tribune article went on to detail the many hassles current drivers face. Combine that with low pay, high stress(A bus full of often unruly students) and low unemployment here in Florida at present, means Hillsborough County will face a driver shortage for some time.

Plus if I read what was reported today, I wouldn't be applying for this job. Masochism has limits don't you know.

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