Santa Ana in need of school bus drivers as students prepare for return to in-person learning

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- School bus drivers are in great demand at the Santa Ana Unified School District.

The district contracts JFK Transportation for the service.

The president of the company, Kevin Watson, said before the pandemic he had 120 drivers on his payroll, but that dropped by more than three quarters when the district went all distance learning.

The remaining drivers provided Wi-Fi hotspots and meals to SAUSD students. Eyewitness News brought you that story last fall.

"We're looking for as many that want to apply and that want to get behind a school bus," Watson said.

SAUSD board member Valerie Amezcua said after more than a year of remote learning, the district is preparing to welcome students back to the classroom in August.

"It's so important that we get ready for returning back to school because we've been home for over a year, about 15 months, and we know that our kids are going to be nervous. But again with a great partnership with JFK and their drivers, I know our kids will step on that bus and be smiling," Amezcua said.

Watson said his business is family-owned and operated, so he understands his employees have other responsibilities and need flexibility.

"One of our benefits that we are working on with our drivers is providing child care services as well as free lunches for our drivers during their midday so they can be here. They can enjoy having a snack or coffee, and then go drive and they also have time to go out and see their kids during the split shift," Watson said.

Training is available for those who need it. A driver's license and clean record are required.

Watson said pay for these positions start at $20 an hour.

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