WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wednesday, August 17, marks the first day of the new school year for the Wichita Falls ISD, and excitement for the new year is reaching everyone, from students to parents and even bus drivers.

“We always get super excited about getting the kids back to school, seeing all their faces and smiles and excitement that they have as they go to school the first day, and even get to go home the first day. And, you hear them talking about everything going great at school so we love it,” Durham School Services General Manager Brian Gibson said.

Durham School Services provides school buses for WFISD, and General Manager Brian Gibson says while they’re excited to welcome the thousands of students they serve back onto the buses, there’s another issue on his mind as well.

“Nationwide and statewide, bus drivers are definitely in high need right now. And, since pre-COVID, we’ve been short drivers and we are starting to make a little bit of a comeback, but if you’re out there and want to help kids out, then we’d love to have you for sure,” Gibson said.

If you can’t become a bus driver, Gibson says just being a safe driver this time of year can go a long way, too.

“Safety is the number one thing that we focus on, on a daily basis. So you slowing down, getting off your cell phone, that’s a really important part. Watching out for these kids, they’re gonna be back to walking in the dark in the morning times to their bus stop. So really really paying attention to where they’re out would be great for us,” Gibson said.

Wichita Falls has already had a busy year with wrecks and vehicle fatalities, so please slow down when you’re driving in those school zones and stop when you see a school bus has its sign out, as it’ll take everyone to make this year easy on our bus drivers and students.

“We’ve got drivers who have been driving school buses for 30 plus years, down to the newest of drivers. So we’ve got a wide range of experience and skills. So we’re happy to have your kids on the bus and we’ll get them to school and home safely for sure,” Gibson said.

Providing a smooth road ahead, for the new year!

If you’re interested in becoming a school bus driver, you can find more information here.