ROMULUS, N.Y. — If he ever has a problem finding a substitute bus driver, Romulus Central School Superintendent Mike Midey may be able to fill the slot himself.
Midey has earned his CDL and added bus driving lessons to his “to do” list as the school district’s top administrator. He has taken to the road for several outings since getting his CDL permit over Christmas break.
The position of transportation supervisor was eliminated last year due to budget cuts, and Midey assumed those duties over the summer. During that time, he met with the mechanics and sat in on bus inspections, but he soon saw that there was a mountain of knowledge to climb.
“I realized I didn’t know what the drivers went through,” Midey said. “They are very trained people. How do you supervise people if you don’t know what they do?”
So Midey hit the books and passed the four necessary tests at the local Department of Motor Vehicles to get his permit.
Several drivers on staff — including Rexine Farley and James Werner — as well as Dale Buck, a retired transportation director from Waterloo, have mentored him behind the wheel.
“If he wants to give up his day job, he’d do beautifully,” said Farley, who has worked in the district since 1977.
Farley said she and her fellow bus drivers appreciate the superintendent’s desire to learn “what it’s like in the trenches” and see firsthand the challenges bus drivers face.
Although superintendents juggle myriad duties, driving a bus isn’t usually one of them. Midey said his wife initially thought he was joking when he told her of his plans. But he’s going the entire route and intends to take his road test once Buck says he’s ready.
Midey is sensitive to drivers’ feelings and says he’s not trying to take any time away from them. But when the stresses of his desk job become too much one day, he might jump at the chance to get out of the office and drive students home on some rural country roads.
“Little districts have trouble getting enough people to do this,” Midey said. “I would certainly offer to take a turn.”
Story by Susan Clark Porter / Finger Lakes Times. Reprinted with permission.