Escambia Schools Adjust Start And Dismissal Times Due To Bus Driver Shortage

July 21, 2021

The Escambia County School district has adjusted the start and dismissal times for several schools due to a shortage of bus drivers. In heavily populated areas, bus routes have also been increased for some drivers.

The largest adjustment times are approximately 35 minutes, with other schools having smaller adjustments of 15 minutes or less.

The district said school principals have made automated phone calls to families to alert them about bus routes along with school day start and dismissal times.

Deputy Superintendent Shenna Payne told that a complete list of changes was not yet available.

“We are still doing some fine tuning. When that is complete, I will certainly share,” Payne said Wednesday morning.

The following District 5 schools or their respective PTAs have already provided the following information online:

Bratt Elementary

  • 7:10 a.m. – First bell
  • 7:35 a.m. – Tardy bell
  • 1:50 p.m. – Dismissal

Jim Allen Elementary

  • 7:27 – Unload buses and car riders/breakfast begins. Students may not be dropped off before 7:15
  • 7:40 – Breakfast closes
  • 7:50 – School begins/tardy bell
  • 2:10 – Dismissal

Molino Park Elementary
  • 7:10 a.m. – Drop off begins
  • 7:35 a.m. – Tardy bell
  • 1:50 p.m. – Dismissal
Pine Meadow Elementary
  • 7:20 a.m. -Car riders, breakfast line
  • 7:50 a.m. – Start time
  • 2:10 p.m. – Dismissal time

Start and dismissal times have not been announced for other North Escambia area schools.


32 Responses to “Escambia Schools Adjust Start And Dismissal Times Due To Bus Driver Shortage”

  1. Pop a wheelie! on July 22nd, 2021 7:46 pm

    Ok lol. Here I go. It’s not the kids why were short handed. Stop blaming them. Anywhere you work your going to have problems. We choose to ride. To work here. Would more money help. Why Yes. Lol. Be patient.caring and drive the bus talk with the kids. If you have to cuss or be hateful to a child. Well don’t apply. It’s your choice. I choose to ride. We do really need more money or summer pay be nice. Have a blessed day! Mary..

  2. David Huie Green on July 22nd, 2021 1:04 pm

    “Get rid of the stupid tobacco law and you will have more bus drivers then you know what to do with”

    Actually, we were short on drivers before the tobacco disqualification. We’ve been short since at least 2005, when I started. Driving a bus is just too hard for some, too little pay for some.
    (Getting up and showing up on time is too hard for some.)

    David for good school bus operators

  3. Brandi on July 22nd, 2021 1:00 pm

    If I had kids, they would not be going to school that early. That is a god-forsaken hour to be in school. Who invented 10 minute breakfast? That’s absurd.

  4. Lisa Fuller on July 22nd, 2021 12:41 pm

    It’s not about the skills of the drivers who smoke. It’s not about the children on the bus being exposed to second hand smoke or the smell of tobacco from the driver’s clothing. It’s about money. The school district negotiated with a health insurance provider that gives them a lower premium for employees who don’t smoke at all. So by not hiring smokers, the school district saves money. That’s the issue. This policy went into effect in 2011. The non-smoking policy applied to only new hires, not existing employees.

  5. JJ on July 22nd, 2021 12:07 pm

    Get rid of the stupid tobacco law and you will have more bus drivers then you know what to do with. Geographically by cutting those that smoke in this county you pretty much cut out half the population. I don’t smoke but this it’s a stupid law. Bus drivers don’t smoke when they drive the students around so what’s the issue? As long as cigs are kept away from arms reach of kids, drivers don’t smell like ashtrays etc then what’s the problem. Last I checked you don’t smoke a cigarette and forget how to drive safely.

  6. Mrs. Bus Driver on July 22nd, 2021 11:20 am

    You can apply for the sub SBO position and drive, as a smoker. Hours and pay are the same. You are only tested for nicotine when you want to become a perm SBO. The difference between the two positions are benefits, paid holidays. The current pay rate is $12.46 an hour. Routes are 7 to 8 hours a day (or more), Monday through Friday. Opportunities for field trips and after school routes available. apply on line at or call (850) 469-5328.

    Thank you for your positive responses. I know a lot of SBOs and SBAs read They work very hard everyday, and they do it because they love and care for the students of Escambia County. Hug and thank your operator today!

  7. Beach Boy on July 22nd, 2021 9:25 am

    I was a driver for the school district a few years ago and it was bad then. Can’t imagine how it is today. First off….you can work at McDonald’s for $13-$17/hr. flipping hamburgers. Bus drivers DESERVE more than $12.80/hr. Secondly…..ALL BUSES need cameras. It’s your word against the student and you can’t argue if it’s caught on the camera.

  8. Do better people on July 22nd, 2021 8:39 am

    The pay that is offered to bus operators is an insult. The operators are an essential part of the children’s day. They are the first and last people the children see on their daily educational journey. People have a tendency to under estimate the impact a bus operator can have on a child. Unfortunately, the children have learned that there are no consequences for unacceptable behavior. This is nurtured by the District and parents. A child can curse, hit, and disrupt a bus and receive no punishment. The District doesn’t want to suspend children because then the sorry @## parents won’t take them to school. I know how important education and want every child to receive one. However, ultimately it is the parents responsibility. When will the onus be put on the parents to handle their children. Maybe once the parents start to be inconvenienced things will change. Operator, assistants, and other children should not have to put up with disruptive children. This District has the mentality that is ok to sacrifice the many for the few. I have seen it with my own eye.

  9. Von on July 22nd, 2021 6:47 am

    The ridiculously low rate of pay is one problem. However I think the biggest problem is there are no consequences for the behavior of the children. The schools don’t want to suspend children off of the bus because the parents won’t Brin gather to school. Unfortunately, until some onus is put on the parents nothing is going to change. I understand that the children need to be at school. However, this district has a tendency to sacrifice the many for the few. Disruptive children on a bus make it unsafe. It’s not right to subject the driver and 60 other children to this because a few can’t behave. Inconvenience the parents then maybe they will do something about their child’s behavior.

  10. really john? on July 22nd, 2021 6:40 am


    Really? Have the teachers, who are already underpaid and over burdened, take on an additional job? Doesn’t sound like the best solution to me. Though I do know several teachers in Alabama who are doing just that, I think it absolutely absurd!

    If people can go get a job with A LOT less responsibility (taking care of a bus full of kids is scary) for the same pay or more, then I think it’s time to raise the pay! Raise the pay all around, bus drivers AND teachers! This isn’t an area to skimp on money. This is where money should be abundant! Our children shouldn’t have to suffer because of this mess!

  11. Dave Coleson on July 22nd, 2021 4:50 am

    I definitely would not drive for Escambia County school district. They let the kids get away with just about anything and do not hold them accountable. They blame the bus drivers for the childs wrong doing. No thank you.

    I’ll take my talents to NASCAR.

  12. A on July 22nd, 2021 3:14 am

    Whatever yall dumb…you kinda proved my point…lol. the tobacco policy CLEARLY isn’t the entire answer to the problem but it would help. Kinda hard to “help fix the problem” when you can’t apply due to smoking an occasional cigar or whatever. If they want qualified candidates that can pass pre-employment screenings, other than tobacco use, a good step would be to quit limiting the available candidates.

  13. CHARLIE ODOM on July 21st, 2021 10:01 pm

    Just a thought here, but maybe pay more than 12.80/hr to Commercial Class B +Passenger Endorsement and you’ll find the drivers you’re looking for!

    It is sad when an unskilled high school student can make more money stocking shelves at a grocery store or filling ice cream at Dairy Queen than they would as a commercial driver!!!

  14. JustWow…. on July 21st, 2021 9:50 pm

    First of all… if we as a society & STOP allowing kids to act like animals & Parents STOP believing their “Angels” do no wrong, you just might get more folks interested in driving these buses. 2nd, will Bratt finally change the crap clock on the wall that has NEVER been the right time? The crazy office ladies know it but don’t do anything about it but act like dictators about kids be late when in fact kids are there 10 mins early! Don’t know about y’all, but I’ve had enough with the crazies in the school system behaving like parents don’t matter & allowing out of control kids to control everything cause we sure wouldn’t to “ offend” any…. Sooooo ridiculous!!!!

  15. EMD on July 21st, 2021 8:00 pm

    What Just A Thought said.

  16. Thomas Paine on July 21st, 2021 6:21 pm

    I might be crazy, but maybe try paying drivers more than $12 an hour?

    It’s hilarious to me that all these businesses and city offices cry about not being able to keep staff members when they won’t pay them a living wage.

  17. Mel on July 21st, 2021 6:04 pm

    Our Teachers and bus drivers need better pay. Both are important jobs

  18. Just a thought on July 21st, 2021 5:38 pm

    Way back when bus driver we under civil service it was an awesome place to work. Most times drivers are on the road at daylight or before to transport children to school. While it is inconvenient to get behind a school bus the public will run stop arms, drive on the right side of a school bus to get around, or give a school bus driver the finger while stopped at a railroad crossing. All while the school bus driver is responsible for however many children are on their bus. Poor pay, no authority, very little respect from children and their parents. ECSD should figure out how to compensate these drivers and ensure they wouldn’t have to work more than two jobs to make a living. For starters.

  19. No Excuses on July 21st, 2021 4:42 pm

    @ Whatever:

    Thank you. I couldn’t have said it better.


    If I wanted to be a bus driver I would not have spent all that money getting a Master’s Degree in education, which my students benefit from daily. Not all of us are stupid or incompetent. Your remark is totally ridiculous and irrelevant to the issue.

    Like every other business in this county/state, we are short staffed.

  20. john on July 21st, 2021 4:14 pm

    Make the teachers get their Class B CDL.

  21. Whatever y’all dumb on July 21st, 2021 3:55 pm

    There is a shortage of bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers. The tobacco policy has little to due with it. Most of the applicants can’t pass a basic skills test (ex. 2+2) or do not have a clean driving record. Never mind the number of applicants that cannot pass a drug screen or simply do not show for interviews. There is also a teacher shortage. The school lost a huge number of teachers due to 1. COVID-19, 2. Stress from hybrid classes, 3. Ungrateful parents not keeping track of their kids studies, 4. Just basic scapegoating by the public at large.

    If you think you can do better prove it! Go to the school district website and apply for the open positions. Don’t be part of the problem. Be the solution!

  22. Daniel on July 21st, 2021 2:16 pm

    Maybe we would have more bus drivers if some of y’all would teach your children some manners and respect !

  23. MV on July 21st, 2021 1:35 pm

    really awesome for working people

  24. A on July 21st, 2021 1:31 pm

    JTV…EXACTLY. Absolutely ridiculous…if they need workers…teachers, bus driver’s, etc…this severely you would think they would change the hiring rules on tobacco. I realize it’s not that easy, due to contracts with medical insurance company that covers their employees but they need to figure it out and soon. I know several people that would b amazing assets to the school system but they aren’t eligible because of tobacco use. Until they change this I have no sympathy for their inability to hire people. I do feel bad for the students and families that are affected by this.

  25. Brandon on July 21st, 2021 1:18 pm

    Just great. Now all the school zones beacons will be out of whack causing all kind of problems. As if traffic wasn’t already bad enough in this county.

  26. Anna on July 21st, 2021 1:17 pm

    I completely agree! And when you tell the parents how their little angel has acted, they side with the child. On top of that, pay is terrible.

  27. Beth on July 21st, 2021 12:42 pm

    Escambia School System is a freaking trainwreck! A shortage of teachers would be better because we have quite a few that are worthless and should be fired!!

  28. I JUST CAN’T on July 21st, 2021 12:40 pm

    McArthur Elementary

    Drop off: 6:50 a.m.
    Dismissal: 1:24 p.m.

    Absolutely absurd!!!

  29. JTV on July 21st, 2021 12:20 pm

    HA! I’m a 20+ year USAF veteran and was denied a job as a bus driver because I smoke an occasional cigar. I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. Smoke Free Florida strikes again

  30. RETIRED on July 21st, 2021 12:10 pm

    I would not drive for the school either. The students cuss you, don’t listen, fight, ETC. and nothing is done about it

  31. Liza on July 21st, 2021 11:51 am

    The shortage of drivers was evident last year. Our neighborhood bus times fluctuated between 20 minutes early to 35 minutes late. I realize COVID and some people’s lack of desire to work are contributing factors. However, the school board needs to resolve or at least alleviate this situation. Perhaps raising the pay rate would be a start.

  32. Resident on July 21st, 2021 11:27 am

    Well that’s an “F” for the Escambia school district.

    Say we are changing the times, but don’t say what they are. But then say principal have called parents to announce times. But you say times are still be adjusted. So principals announced times that may change again.

    “F” for the school district for ambiguous information. PR fail.

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.