Some school districts in desperate need of bus drivers

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DENVER -- School districts across the state are gearing up for the new school year. But many of them are in desperate need of school bus drivers.

Rapidly growing enrollments have districts trying to keep up with the appropriate number of bus drivers.

Daniel Martinez has been a school bus driver for a decade.

"There are some that I've seen in my 10 years of service that I've picked up from first grade all the way up until they graduated," he said.

But he said it is becoming more difficult each year.

"It seems like we're short on bus drivers every year from the beginning of the year to the end," he said.

The shortage of drivers is nothing new, but Martinez said it seems to be getting worse.

"It's very difficult to take any time off," he said.

And it's affecting drivers already in place.

"There is some pressure because who's going to drive that bus if you don't show up," Martinez said.

Denver Public Schools transportation director Nicole Portee knows it's a competitive market. The district increased driver pay to $16.69 an hour in February.

"I think really that would be something people should look into as a really good, honorable profession," Martinez said. "I mean I've got 10 years. I plan on retiring there. Even when I retire I may stay and drive a bus."


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