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November 01, 2002  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

‘Assistant Drivers’ Provide Solution

Georgia district puts spin on substitute driver concept The school bus driver shortage presents a seemingly never-ending dilemma. Creative recruiting efforts are the norm as school districts attempt to mollify the problem.


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The school bus driver shortage presents a seemingly never-ending dilemma. Creative recruiting efforts are the norm as school districts attempt to mollify the problem. Transportation directors constantly intensify efforts to attract stay-at-home parents, retirees and others looking for part-time employment. At Columbia County Public Schools in Appling, Ga., the transportation department is trying to allay the inconveniences of the driver shortage by hiring a staff of “assistant drivers.” Assistant drivers are similar to substitute drivers, but can rely on the availability of more consistent hours. The difference is that assistant drivers can work every day, but they don’t have one assigned route that they drive. The district, which transports approximately 10,000 students per day with 170 school buses, has an average of nine or 10 absent drivers every day. Their routes are covered by assistant drivers, so the available workload is fairly constant. Assistants are also encouraged to drive after-school routes, athletic events and field trips. Columbia County tries to attract assistant drivers by guaranteeing the following: 1) Assistant drivers have full access to the school district’s insurance and benefits plan. 2) They have increased flexibility and can work when they choose. 3) The school district will hire applicants without a CDL and pay them during their training to obtain one. For more information on assistant drivers, contact Shirley Doolittle, director of transportation, at sdoolittle@ccboe.net

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