EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A school district in the Poconos has a call out for bus drivers.

They’re just over a week away from kicking off the first day of school. The sign behind me shows that the East Stroudsburg Area School District is making it loud and clear that they’re looking for school bus drivers.

Officials tell me despite their efforts to fill the positions over the past few months, they still have two dozen open spots.

Empty seats fill the bus lot at East Stroudsburg Area School District but beginning August 29. The buses will be filled with students. And with nearly 100 bus routes the district says they’re short bus drivers, by two dozen. The Director of Communications tells Eyewitness News the district released the consolidated bus runs to students Thursday night and some drivers may need to make more than one trip to the schools.

“Due to the shortage and some of the doubling up that’s going to occur, and the need for substitutes on a day-to-day basis, that some of our runs are going to be late,” said Eric Forsyth, Director of Communications/operations at East Stroudsburg Area School District.

For the first time ever the school district is extending its students’ morning homeroom by about five minutes in case of late buses.

“It also allows our food services department to make breakfast available to all of those students when they arrive also. So despite the circumstances, we can give everyone as normal of a start as possible,” said Forsyth.

He says they saw the shortage last year and despite offering free CDL classes and competitive pay they’re not seeing the turnout they hoped.

Barbara Eccleston was a full-time bus driver for the school for four years, this year she’s working as a substitute driver.

“I like the hours, I like that you come home in the middle of the day. You know do things at home, take a nap if you’re tired, and then go back to work all refreshed,” said Barbara Eccleston, Substitute Bus Driver for East Stroudsburg Area School District.

She says her grandchildren are in the district and she hopes more people sign-up to avoid delays.

“It’s a rewarding job and it’s challenging, but the pay and the benefits are great,” said Eccleston.

The pay for full-time drivers starts at $17 with benefits and retirement while substitute drivers start at $25 an hour.

The district’s free CDL training class is taking place on Monday.