CARMEL, Ind. — A school district here will start paying some teachers to get behind the wheel in an effort to mitigate its school bus driver shortage, Indianapolis Star reports.
Before and after they teach classes this upcoming school year, a handful of elementary school teachers for Carmel Clay Schools will drive bus routes, and will receive $18,000 to do so, according to the newspaper. The teachers receive training from the district. One teacher has completed the licensing process, and five more are training now, Indianapolis Star reports. The offer is currently only available to elementary school teachers because they start later in the morning, allowing them time to drive two routes.
Roger McMichael, the associate superintendent for the district, told the newspaper that Carmel Clay Schools has struggled for years with a driver shortage, and that each school bus driver currently runs two or three routes every day. He added that on some days there aren’t enough drivers for every bus, which can cause students to be picked up late. Teachers may find the school bus driver job more convenient than other second jobs available to them, and they know how to manage a classroom, which is a valuable asset for driving a bus, McMichael told Indianapolis Star.
The school district currently has about 180 bus drivers, but needs 10 more, McMichael told the newspaper. Carmel Clay Schools has tried for the last few years to attract more driver candidates by offering a signing bonus and a $1,500 stipend after six months, but drivers do not get benefits, which limits the number of candidates.
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