JARRELL, Texas (KXAN) — The $18 an hour Jarrell ISD bus drivers are making could soon get a bump as trustees called a special meeting to discuss driver compensation. The district is working to address its driver shortage amid a growing student population.

Tuesday, the district posted on its Facebook page several bus routes would be altered because of the driver shortage. Parents on social media noted their displeasure after not being notified of the changes earlier.

Jarrell ISD responded in a statement:

Our priority is to provide a safe environment for our students, whether in the classroom or on the way to school on one of our school buses. As a fast-growth school district, with a 25% enrollment increase, we must be innovative with our resources. As part of that, we’ve made changes in our transportation department to enhance efficiency, which includes adjusting our bus routes and times while continuing to provide an excellent work environment for our staff. 

In addition, we increased our compensation plan, and bus drivers have the opportunity to work full-time with benefits. Plus, all our employees have the opportunity to earn additional compensation with incentive pay, including a sign-on, job referral, and retention incentive. The bus driver shortage is a national issue that we are working to address by actively recruiting employees through our social media platforms and job fairs. We are hosting a job fair this Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the JISD Annex, 508 N 5th Street, Jarrell.

Jarrell ISD

Parents in the Coolwater neighborhood said they were aware of the changes to the morning’s bus route, and some chose to drive their children to school, while others waited on the delayed pickup.

Anthony Giles was picking up his son Kadrian Tuesday afternoon from the bus drop-off. He said while the occasional delays are a “pet peeve” of his, he will wait or drive whenever needed to get his son to school.

“At the end of the day, it’s our kids. You got to do what you got to do. If the bus comes late or it does come early, we still got to get them to school,” said Giles.

The special meeting will take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Jarrell ISD Annex Cafeteria at 508 N. Fifth St. The only item on the agenda is to discuss bus driver pay.