ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A bill making it way through Tallahassee seeks to direct school districts to address support staff shortages. 

Ron Pollard, President of the Orange Education Support Professionals Association (OESPA), says despite the district holding numerous job fairs to try and fill open slots, he still gets reports from his members of shortages, especially for bus drivers. 

Senate Bill 1576 says that school districts will have to fund incentives that will help “retain and recruit personnel for critical shortages" when a support staff position has more than 20% of it's available positions vacant. 

Pollard says it may not address everything, but they welcome this type of legislation. 

“No, it doesn’t go far enough, but it is a step in the right direction. It brings attention to the support staff and the critical work that they do. They’re under appreciated,” Pollard said. 

He says the conversation around fair pay is usually on teachers, so just getting a bill to address it is progress. 

He says sign on bonuses have proven not to be enough to recruit and retain the necessary amount of support staff. 

Pollard says he’s heading up to Tallahassee Wednesday to Advocate for this bill and more action to help improve pay for bus drivers and other critical school staff. 

You can read the full text of the bill here.