NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Local school districts are in desperate need of more bus drivers for the school year.

Mike McClure, director of transportation services at Fayetteville Public Schools, said the district has 5 immediate openings for route drivers. McClure said the shortage is making it take longer to get all students home.

“We’re double and triple running some of our routes which may cause students to get home later in the evening, but we do want to provide a ride home for any student who needs it,” McClure said.

Gravette School District also has a need for more bus drivers, according to superintendent Maribel Childress.

“We have been able to consolidate a few of our routes in order to make it work with our current number of bus drivers, but we have no leeway if someone calls in sick,” Childress said.

McClure said the shortage is a nationwide problem. He said the split schedule and responsibility of the job makes it hard to find drivers.

“Putting 50 students behind a driver for some people that’s a little bit of a difficult task having to deal with the students,” McClure said.

However, both McClure and Childress said being a bus driver is a rewarding job and they encourage anyone who is interested to apply for a position. You must have a Class B CDL, but Fayetteville will provide training for drivers once they have the license.

To see Fayetteville’s job openings, visit the district’s website. You can also see Gravette’s open jobs on their website.