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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2005 :  8:34:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
July 8 2005
Lynchburg News & Advance
A lack of school bus drivers is a national problem, but Lynchburg has the only local school system with a shortage, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Starting pay for school bus drivers in the city is $7.46 an hour, compared to $9 to $12 in neighboring counties.

The city is short at least 10 drivers, which has prompted an innovative “help wanted ad” in the form of a banner draped across a school bus at the corner of Timberlake and Leesville roads.

Without enough drivers, the city must turn to mechanics, secretaries, delivery personnel and even administrators to drive the bus routes. That’s ridiculous.

The bus driver shortage doesn’t just take people away from other jobs, it also causes a major scheduling problem. ...

The city’s 94 drivers have to cover 253 routes daily, not including field trips, athletic competitions and other school functions.

By comparison, Campbell County has plenty of drivers, including 16 “utility” drivers who are paid daily to substitute as needed, to drive on field trips or sporting events, or ride with other drivers as they learn their routes. The county has 114 drivers to cover the system’s 98 routes.

Bedford County, which pays $11.33 an hour to start, has a full bus driving staff, as do Appomattox and Amherst counties.

Witt acknowledges that “pay is always a stumbling block” in Lynchburg, which has very few full-time drivers getting benefits. An aging workforce of retirees is getting difficult to replace at $7.26 an hour.

In addition to better pay, Amherst, for example, allows part-time drivers to get health insurance, though it costs more for them than full-time employees.

Driving a bus requires a commercial license, training and a stellar driving record. It also requires patience dealing with sometimes obnoxious students. Clearly people are not willing to do it without reasonable compensation.

It’s embarrassing that Appomattox can afford to pay $12.11 for starting bus drivers, but Lynchburg expects drivers to settle for $4.65 an hour less.

Surely Lynchburg could borrow a page from its neighbors to solve its bus driver shortage. Raising the starting salary is the place to start.

Click Here for story

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.


coolbusdriver
Top Member

Canada
1509 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2005 :  10:52:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Starting pay for school bus drivers in the city is $7.46 an hour, compared to $9 to $12 in neighboring counties.

It’s embarrassing that Appomattox can afford to pay $12.11 for starting bus drivers, but Lynchburg expects drivers to settle for $4.65 an hour less.

I must have missed something here, these amounts really differ. But either way, that is a crazy (insulting would be more accurate) amount to expect someone to drive a school bus for. Just how important is the safety of thier children?
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Rich
Top Member

United States
5768 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2005 :  11:25:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
$7.46?! You can probably get more money cleaning toilets in Wal Mart!



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IC-RE
Top Member

USA
4117 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2005 :  2:00:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit IC-RE's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I make more as a camp counselor, I am in the same state as the counties described in the article, and we do things a bit different up here in Fairfax and Loudoun you start at around $15.78 per hour, and just move up from there. So that just goes to show you
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Tmac0384
Advanced Member

USA
375 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2005 :  9:18:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit Tmac0384's Homepage  Send Tmac0384 an AOL message  Send Tmac0384 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
yea...higher pay would be very nice!!! but honestly... if ur a driver and u actually like driving & doing your job... then pay shouldn't be an issue. i love my job, so i don't worry whatsoever about what i'm being paid. then again, i'm not financially hard up either. i guess it just depends on the person's situation. but i wouldn't argue for higher pay! lol

sometimes older is way better than new.




some photos of mine: http://community.webshots.com/user/Bus213
(it's a work in progress... tons of photos to come!)
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JC Theriault
Top Member

Canada
1326 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2005 :  2:17:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I worked with a bunch of retired railway employees at one school bus operation and these guys screwed it for the ones who really needed to earn a "living income" at this job. These guys were collected their 80% salary from the CNR because their positions were abolished and new openings weren't available for them to 'bump' into. So their union contract said they had to get paid their 80% plus X amount for a severance package.

Everytime I suggested we go after more money these fools would run to management and squeal on those seeking a pay hike. Loving the job is one thing but that shouldn't rule out making a fair wage that one can actually buy groceries with. It should also correspond with the high level of responsability we have each day.

JC
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2005 :  11:54:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JC Theriault

... Loving the job is one thing but that shouldn't rule out making a fair wage that one can actually buy groceries with. It should also correspond with the high level of responsibility we have each day.

JC


Agree!!

Ever wonder why so many of our Nation's teachers and administrators seem unwilling to work for poverty-level wages because they love kids? Guess they don't love kids. -or- The act of loving ones' work, loving kids and poor pay may not be related and are often considered irrelevant by employers. Regardless, most millionaires working with kids also claim to love kids.

To say, "I work for poor wages because I love kids," can make the issue of decent pay for a decent days' work appear a petty issue that insults the efforts of career-minded professionals everywhere, as well as encourages employers to continue blatant disregard toward their school bus drivers decency - and toward children subjected to neglect because of the excessive turnover in this industry.

A living income is a serious issue when looking for professional long-term school bus drivers. Decent pay is not too much to ask when actually considering the long-term training and responsibility involved. To deny this reality is to lie to ones' fellows, and in its most naked appearance, would seek to make a mockery out of the efforts of decent adults seeking decent treatment for themselves and their families. (jk)

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 07/14/2005 06:41:52 AM
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Sherm
Top Member

USA
621 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2005 :  08:15:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
School bus drivers are considered part-time employees. Yes, you may work 40+ hours per week during the school year, but if you average out the total hours for most drivers over 12 months, it equals part-time status for the year.

If districts and contractors could find other duties for drivers to do in between runs and during school vacations, drivers could legitimately be considered full-time employees. Then, it would be easier for these entities to justify good benefits and decent pay (some drivers already get decent pay, but earning that pay all year long and not just for 9 months would result in a higher salary.)

That's the way I've advocated improving the system. I've seen it work in some form in various places. Any thoughts on this idea?
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2005 :  1:39:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sherm

School bus drivers are considered part-time employees. Yes, you may work 40+ hours per week during the school year, but if you average out the total hours for most drivers over 12 months, it equals part-time status for the year.


Flagging this.

Part-time? I remain amazed that providers continue to think - or pretend to think - that driving school bus is a part-time job. Of all the jobs I've held, driving school bus often consumed more of my actual productive daily time. There's a lot more to driving a school bus than driving the school bus. And the personal health and liability issues involved? Oh Blessed are the ignorant school bus drivers that have no clue.

I'm too close to retirement to argue too much about this issue for myself, but after me remains a decent lot that properly treated would have full management of their buses - including contacting parents and suspending students from the school bus.

Where the school bus driver is properly trained and treated as a professional, obtaining actual training relevant to managing a school bus, then the job classification is not dependent on hours. To build on that it may be more appropriate to classify the position as Management, Professional or Certified Staff, not classified or part-time staff.

In the sense of the profession itself it would hardly be appropriate for the principal or school secretary to dictate to the plumber where and how to lay the water pipes and sewer lines. What areas water and sewer are wanted, and perhaps what style of fixtures, is usually the limit of involvement. Same with the electrician - how many outlets a line will handle is decided by the one with the license to manage this issue and by the rational rules governing that sort of thing, not by the principal or office secretary's knowledge in their work.

Just a note: Our industry's stand, no seat belts on the big buses, came as a result of school principals, industry associations and politicians designs to save money, not as a result from what professional engineers designed and insisted was needed to reduce injuries and death on the school buses. Something to think about when considering how the industry strayed from building a professional fleet of school bus drivers.

The current standing of the school bus driver, all to often, and regardless of the so-called daunting requirements, is more like that of hiring a truck driver to transport cargo, than would be that of hiring a trained professional to transport and manage schoolchildren. Too many continue to pretend believing and promote an attitude that ten-cents a mile for truckers to drive their school buses is appropriate pay, where that is no longer the case even in the trucking industry.

A trucker can make $40,000 - $60,000 per year working only 8 months out of the year - my wife's brother does just that and loves the job. He's also amazed at how many school bus drivers are hired, retrained and added to their workforce each year. Most trucking firms are ever grateful to schools for providing a steady, competent work force, while reducing their training costs substantially when hiring what were previously school bus drivers.

In the case of a true profession hours are often irrelevant. A professional field photographer can make $150+ for an hour or fraction of an hour's work, including expenses and daily minimum guarantees - in my case I was paid $150.00 per day on the weekends when I wasn't even working! (Loved that job - a great job for the single person.) A trained analyst/consultant can make blocks of income ranging into the many thousands of dollars, also not dependent on daily hours or months worked each year.

To attach hours and months of the year, as a criteria for benefits to the school bus driving profession, obviously has done nothing to improve the profession, just as teachers would not accept this manner of calculating their benefits. Yet, regardless of the better pay for the actual time spent - and full benefits - excellent teachers are leaving the profession in droves.

There's a lot more driving people away from public education jobs than bad pay - and the same goes for the school bus driving profession. Yet, a school's workforce, including bus transportation can be turned around in a relatively short period of time. Decent pay and benefits for retaining professional staff remains a part of that process. (jk)

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 07/15/2005 09:47:00 AM
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coolbusdriver
Top Member

Canada
1509 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2005 :  04:39:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
A living income is a serious issue when looking for professional long-term school bus drivers. Decent pay is not too much to ask when actually considering the long-term training and responsibility involved. To deny this reality is to lie to ones' fellows, and in its most naked appearance, would seek to make a mockery out of the efforts of decent adults seeking decent treatment for themselves and their families. (jk)


agree totally.
I love the school bus industry and especially driving. However, I am now looking for other employment because I cannot live off of what I make driving a school bus. I have tried to find a part time job that will still allow me to drive but even though many places advertise that they will work your hours around your schedule, they will not.
So, much as I hate to give it up, it looks like I will have no choice.
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80-RE4
Top Member

USA
5700 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2005 :  07:31:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had to make a decision on what job (i have two) to continue to work "more" at, and I don't know if I am making the best decision, maybe you guys can help.

Job #1 is retail: I work 20 hours a week in order to keep my dental insurance and my health insurance. At job 1 I have been there for a decade, and I am paid 10.00 an hour. Through job 1, i have Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance that I pay 23.00 per week for. Also, I pay 3.00 a week for Delta Dental Insurance.

For job 2 (bus driving)

I will be getting paid 15.50 an hour. Fallon Health Care at 40 bucks a week (Blue Cross is better) and they do have dental insurance but it is 100% employEE paid, which will amount to about 40 bucks a week.

I decided that I am only going to drive the bus 5 hours a week, two days per afternoon because of the difference in benefits (health and dental) but I will be losing out on 5.50 an hour pay.

Job 2 (driving) pays more than job 1 (retail) but job 1 (retail has better health/dental) and more flexible hours.

I hope I am making the right decision. I only want to work 25 hours a week with two jobs because i am a full time college student...

Do you think im making the right decision?

The reason why I added this in this thread was because if the bus driving job had better insurance coverage, I would obviously stick to that. The pay is nice though, can't complain about 15.50 an hour.
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2005 :  10:21:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
County desperate for bus drivers

Danielle Pepe

July 13 2005
NBC2 NEWS
LEE COUNTY, FL - The race is on to recruit school bus drivers. Currently, the Lee County school district needs to hire 100 bus driver positions before the first day of school on August 8. Even Good Wheels, which provides service for all 8 charter schools in the area, needs [at] least 22 drivers.

"We've always been able to hire enough. This is the first year that we've not been able to get enough to do the job we'd like to do," said Gary Bryant of Good Wheels. "If we aren't able to obtain enough drivers then we'll have to stagger start times or we're going to have to do something that's adverse to children."

The shortage is being blamed on our growing area because more students mean more bus routes.

Click Here for story

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.


Edited by - JK on 07/15/2005 10:23:10 AM
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JC Theriault
Top Member

Canada
1326 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2005 :  02:23:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was surfing the employment listings for my city and found someone looking for a 5-ton straight-truck driver for in city work. Rate of pay to start $18/hour x 45 hours per week.

Now seeing how the starting rate for school bus drivers here is just slightly more than $9.50 I can see why a turnover happens each year. Its not the fault of the contractor either - a couple of years back the school board said "cut X amount out of your bid or we put it out to tender right away". The only real place you can cut dollars from is wages so people look for other work when the pay doesn't reflect the responsability we have. And no, I'm not interested in driving a truck, even at that hourly rate.

JC
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2005 :  09:01:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JC Theriault

... And no, I'm not interested in driving a truck, even at that hourly rate.

JC


Although what you say for yourself is true, what remains is an industry school bus driver turn-over rate equivalent to replacing this Nation's entire fleet of drivers every three or four years.

The employee service time for too many employers is not sufficient to develop a professional fleet in my opinion. To expedite an appropriate level of safety for children, under these circumstances, would require a level of training and support that too many providers seem unwilling to provide.

When it comes to abusive employers, my perspective toward the industry overall can become harsh and intense. Perhaps some should skip the rest of this post. As some have said - Ignorance can be bliss. In that vain, Oh Blessed are the ignorant school bus drivers that have no clue.

We here are not ignorant school bus drivers. We know too many school officials and some parents seem all too willing to ignore or play politics with the safety of children on the school buses.

For myself, it took eight years to achieve a level of competence I would accept as a true professional in charge of his or her bus. It was necessary to obtain college-level and state police law-enforcement violence prevention training before I could successfully flush out the horrible and grossly misleading so-called advanced student management training provided by the employer and the state.

Myself, unwilling to quit, had to eventually and virtually seize control over my bus in order to establish and maintain a bus environment free of bullying, other violence and child neglect. Were it not for the Superintendent and a few great parents at that time I can assure you I'd likely been fired because of my unyielding demands to help me provide a safe environment on my bus for my kids and their bus driver.

Most simply are not inclined, nor hired-on, to then engage in battle with their employer, and with the few obnoxious parents most routes seem to include. The stress of negotiating the bus through traffic with 60+ potential liability issues riding along behind you are sufficient to stop most in their tracks before ever filling out an application. And the ignorant that hire-on soon become educated enough to get out before their financial condition or health is damaged.

It's been jested often, You got to be a little crazy to drive a school bus. That statement may no longer be just a joke - it may apply to me, you and the many that remain in this profession, doing so regardless of the risks to health and family finances. A provider that does not at least provide superb health insurance ought to be banned from existence.

I would suppose the rest of us, me included, perhaps lacked the good sense to know how abusive toward children's safety and the bus driver's decency some in this industry have become, and either submitted to the abuse or engaged in battle until the abuse ended.

Where the employer does properly train, support and pay their drivers, the proof of this is in their waiting list of applicants to drive their school buses. I've seen this strange contrast in my area - one employer can't get drivers, yet eight miles away another employer has a waiting list.

I would think that among the areas of investigating any crash involving a school bus or school bus related death, should include a careful examination of the provider's applicants waiting list to drive their buses and a careful examination of the school district's student bus tickets. Much can be learned about the employer's practices from these seemingly irrelevant areas.

Again, there's a lot more driving people away from public education jobs than bad pay - and the same goes for the school bus driving profession. Yet, a school's workforce, including bus transportation can be turned around in a relatively short period of time. Decent pay and benefits for retaining professional staff remains a part of that process.

In the end, a little crazy or not, this industry needs more school bus drivers like you - a decent lot willing to stick it out for the kids and for the community's sake. (jk)

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.


Edited by - JK on 07/18/2005 3:01:12 PM
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2005 :  2:48:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Plenty of school buses, but not enough drivers

District struggles to fill jobs before year starts

by Ray Hagar

July 17 2005
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
RENO, NEV. - After pouring $6 million into upgrading its bus fleet over the past few years, the Washoe County School District vehicles outnumber the drivers.

The district needs to hire 40 to 50 drivers before the start of the traditional school year in late August. Yet it is a job that few qualified candidates seem to want, some district officials said.

"Finding people who really want to work with kids and deal with the traffic at the same time, that’s a tough combination," said Margo Myers-Medeiros, transportation training supervisor. "I can find a lot of people who can drive the bus and a lot of people who can work with kids. But it’s hard to find people who can do the two things together."

Candidates feel the starting pay of $10.62 to $11.73 an hour isn’t worth the stress of fighting Reno’s growing traffic problems while driving a 15-ton, 84-seat school bus loaded with children, some drivers said.

"It’s a hard job," said Dolores Marshall, a Washoe school bus driver for 33 years. "You are on the road with all this traffic, and the traffic is horrendous now. Then, you’ve got all these kids sitting behind you. A lot of people try it and say, ‘No, I can’t do this.’"

The district has 286 bus drivers and 295 buses, counting the spares. Twenty-three more buses are expected to arrive before the end of the year as demands for new routes continue to grow. Older buses will be put out of service.

Washoe school buses are expected to haul more than 20,000 students during the upcoming school year with the bus fleet traveling a combined 5 million miles, officials said.

“We are growing quicker than the school district is able to keep up with sometimes,” Myers-Medeiros said.

Some candidates are dismayed by the battery of tests they must first pass to become a bus driver, officials said.

...

"Sometimes I get these people who are 60 years old, and they don’t have a clue to what is going on," Myers-Medeiros said. "They think they are going to be grandma or grandpa to these kids, but it doesn’t work out that way. You’ve got to have a heart, but you also have to be in charge or they (students) will walk all over you."

Click Here for story

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.


Edited by - JK on 07/18/2005 2:52:02 PM
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  4:17:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Schools short bus drivers as classes approach

July 18 2005
NBC2 News
LEE COUNTY, FL - School starts in a matter of weeks and districts throughout Southwest Florida are still short bus drivers. But that does not mean your child will have a problem getting to school this year.

The district's transportation department is short about 40 drivers, and a bus company they use as a subcontractor for charter schools, Good Wheels, is short 17 drivers.

So both the district and Good Wheels are posting signs around the county to lure drivers to fill the open positions.

Lee County School District Transportation Director Armando DeLeon says the district is always short drivers in the beginning of the school year.

"What happens is our short number is the possibility that some drivers may not be coming back," he said.

DeLeon says all the bus routes are covered for the year, but they're short on "contingency" drivers.

The district says those are a buffer for times when assigned drivers either call in sick or quit. The contingency drivers step in and take over the routes.

Two new contingency drivers, Angie Cuomo and Tony Bongiorno, started their first day of training Monday.

An 18-year veteran bus driver, Cuomo says she understands why some people might not be interested in driving a school bus.

"You're in charge of 50-60 kids on a bus, [it] may be a little intimidating. Then the traffic patterns may be more than they're used to if they come from another place," she said.

Click Here for story

NOTE: This story is rather strange when compared to Friday's story, "County desperate for bus drivers." It looks like the school district hired 60 bus drivers over the weekend? Incredible, if true. That many drivers are going to be fully trained to manage children by school start on Aug 8? That would also be incredible. And all background checks will be reported back to the provider by AUG 8? Good Wheels hired 5 drivers? A little more believable and manageable. "[it] may be a little intimidating [to drive school bus]" may be a more plausible reason school bus drivers are hard to find than the excuse, "the area is growing," in the first story. (jk)

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.


Edited by - JK on 07/19/2005 4:43:20 PM
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Rockbirdman
Active Member

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 07/22/2005 :  08:54:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rockbirdman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JK

[quote]Originally posted by JC Theriault

... And no, I'm not interested in driving a truck, even at that hourly rate.

JC



He who does not have the courage of his convictions has no right for his voice to be heeded.

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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/22/2005 :  09:16:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rockbirdman

He who does not have the courage of his convictions has no right for his voice to be heeded.





The courage to leave an abusive situation can sometimes be a far greater and worthwhile achievement than the courage to stay. (jk)

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.



Edited by - JK on 07/22/2005 09:18:18 AM
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/22/2005 :  5:29:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Back to School Countdown: Bus Driver Shortage

Alyson McCarthy, Reporter

July 21 2005
KLAS TV 8 NEWS
LAS VEGAS, NEV. - The new school year starts in less than six weeks and not only is the school district short of teachers, they are also in need of school bus drivers.

There's a critical shortage of bus drivers and the district is working to fill those vacancies. The Clark County School District is in high gear these days training new bus drivers. The district has been dealing with a critical shortage for the past year-and-a-half.

"We want to get another 100 bus drivers -- that will keep us from having to double up routes and have students to get to school late," said Jim Reynolds, CCSD transportation supervisor.

There are nearly 300,000 Clark County students attending school next year, nearly half, or 140,000 will get to and from school everyday by bus. That translates into more than 1,000 bus routes. Drivers make $13 to $18 an hour, with full benefits. It can be an ideal job for retirees and parents of school-aged children.

"If you have children , you're off when they're off. You're off weekends and holidays," Reynolds said.

Click Here for story

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 07/22/2005 5:30:28 PM
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2005 :  3:00:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Scrambling for bus drivers

This story includes an interesting approach that seems to help encourage trained bus drivers to migrate from one employer to another.

Some districts still short as school starts near

Betty Beard

Jul 29 2005
The Arizona Republic
The toughest jobs for school districts to fill continues to be bus drivers.

With school a week or two away from starting in many districts, some are still scrambling to find drivers, even after searches that began in the spring.

"We've been recruiting for about five years, non-stop," said Jay Morris, transportation director at the Gilbert Unified School District, which still needed about 20 drivers earlier in the week and which sometimes requires other employees to fill in. "It's definitely a challenge."

There is always a high turnover among school bus drivers, and it has become common to see parked school buses with huge banners saying "bus drivers wanted."

The Mesa Unified, Tempe Union High School, and Kyrene Elementary districts also were still looking for drivers this week . Chandler Unified, which started classes Tuesday, filled its slots, as did Tempe Elementary. They generally pay from $10 to $14 an hour.

Because of the competition for good and qualified drivers, more districts are offering benefits and touting their air-conditioned buses or stretching part-time jobs into full-time jobs by adding other duties.

The requirements and training are extensive and hours are unusual. Drivers can start their day at 6:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. with a four-hour break in between.

Although drivers say most kids are well-behaved, a few aren't. Most buses are not air- conditioned, and afternoon runs can be brutal.

Kelsie Ricke, 15, a Chandler High School sophomore who rides on Mike Galligan's school bus, said afternoon trips are miserable because of the heat and sweaty smells.

"You sit here next to each other and it's like you are baking each other," she said.

At the Tempe Elementary district, all the buses are air-conditioned, and bus drivers can get benefits at 25 hours or more.

District spokeswoman Monica Allread believes that is why the district has filled all 73 slots for drivers, well ahead of the Aug. 8 start of school. "The air-conditioning is a benefit for the drivers certainly at this time of year, so we feel like that helps us get staffed up," she said.

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 07/30/2005 7:36:44 PM
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william
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USA
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Posted - 07/30/2005 :  11:05:06 AM  Show Profile  Click to see william's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Get a job that you like, and you'll never work another day in your life. That statement probably applies to most of us on this forum, but no matter how much you like your job, we still should be adequately compensated. JK, I wonder how much the floor sweepers in Reno make per hour.

William
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mlkdrives41
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USA
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Posted - 07/30/2005 :  11:23:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Let the administrators come and try to do what we do for a day or two and see if maybe they appreciate us more. There was one superintendent who actually cared enough to come ride my bus. But he is gone and we are on the second one after him and I doubt this one has ever been to the bus yard...at least when we who actually drive have been there.

$7.46 and hour? That is an insult. I would commute to drive for a district that paid better than that and included some benefits as well.

Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm!
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JK
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Posted - 07/30/2005 :  6:40:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mlkdrives41

... $7.46 and hour? That is an insult. I would commute to drive for a district that paid better than that and included some benefits as well.


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There is no school bus driver shortage!
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Edited by - JK on 07/30/2005 7:28:28 PM
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JK
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USA
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Posted - 07/30/2005 :  7:33:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote

'The hardest jobs to fill'

Betty Beard

Jul 30 2005
The Arizona Republic
The toughest job for school districts to fill continues to be bus drivers.

With school a week or two away from starting in many districts, some are still scrambling to find drivers, even after searches that began in the spring.

"In our experience, they are the hardest jobs to fill," said Vickie Middleton, district director of staffing, recruitment and employee development for the Kyrene Elementary School District. "I think it has to do with the scheduling."

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JK
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USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2005 :  10:02:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bus Driver Shortage

Aug 5 2005
WHOTV 13
Des Moines -The school year is fast approaching and many Iowa schools don't have enough bus drivers. We did some checking to see how areas school are doing.

The West Des Moines School District, tells us they still need two more drivers. In Johnston, they have enough, but are always looking for more. Southeast Polk tells they want five more drivers. And Indianola is experiencing such a shortage it took to recruiting drivers.

Rick Wilson started his bus driving job last year, after being "recruited".

"I had one of the older drivers come up to me, and ask if I'd be interested in doing that," Wilson said.

Since then he's been averaging about 100 miles a day.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough drivers like Rick, to go around.

Danny Thede, Indianola Transportation Director said, "last year we still could not fill all the positions. We started out the year three short, and ended up five short."

Now Thede is looking to hire seven drivers. And it's not easy. The job comes with no health insurance, it's part-time, only four hours a day, and it's a split shift.

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JK
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7307 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2005 :  8:59:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bus Drivers Needed

James Steiner

Aug 9 2005
KOLO TV 8 NEWS
RENO, NEV - Wanted: someone to take the wheel of those friendly and familiar behemoths that carry kids to and from school. Transportation officials say so far 34 drivers have answered the call, close to what the county needed, but still not enough.

Craig Falconer, the Assistant Transportation Director, says he thinks they're going to need about 40-plus drivers. Why the change in numbers? Transportation officials say 50 drivers was a dream list. That would help them for most of the year They say 34 is a good start, barring any unexpected problems.

The county says it had such a hard time meeting its hiring goals this summer mainly because the state's unemployment rate was so low, and competition from other potential employers was so high.

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 08/10/2005 1:46:14 PM
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JK
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Posted - 08/10/2005 :  1:42:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wayne County Scrambles For School Bus Drivers

Aug 9 2005
NBC17 NEWS
GOLDSBORO, N.C. -- With classes set to begin in less than three weeks, Wayne County Schools still needs 20 to 35 people to drive its school buses, officials said Tuesday.

The district held a training session for recent recruits on Tuesday, and officials said they plan to pull out all the stops to fill the driver jobs, which pay between $9.95 and $12 an hour, as soon as possible.

The driver shortage is nothing new. Most area school districts said they nervously approach the beginning of each school year, wondering whether they will have enough drivers for their buses.

Raymond Smith, transportation director in Wayne County, said the district was so short of drivers last year that other school personnel were pressed into service.

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
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Edited by - JK on 08/10/2005 1:47:30 PM
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IC
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USA
3413 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2005 :  3:47:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Might as well our driver woes to the rest.....


Drivers wanted!
By Frank Mustac, Springfield Times
08/09/2005

A starting salary of $15.78 per hour and an attractive benefits package are what the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) system hopes will be enough of an incentive to lure a minimum of 100 new school bus drivers for the upcoming school year.

"There's very much a shortage," said Linda Farbry, director of FCPS' Office of Transportation Services. "Last year, it became very challenging."

With current staffing levels for bus operators numbering about 1,120 and with 40 trainees on their way to earning Virginia commercial driver's licenses, the county schools will still be well short of the figure Farbry's office is looking to reach by the time school begins next month—a total crew of about 1,290.

The new pay rate for entry-level drivers, which is 22 percent higher than last year's $12.90 per hour, was achieved, Farbry said, by offering only six paid holidays a year instead of the customary 19.

The benefits package available to new drivers, which includes medical coverage, life insurance, short- and long-term disability and a retirement plan, is equal to that available to any other FCPS employee.

"We're advertising for new drivers every way we can," said Farbry, adding that most applicants, however, come in by way of word of mouth. "More than 60 percent of our recruits come from recommendations from other school bus drivers."

FCPS employees who recommend new drivers that stay on for at least 90 days are eligible for a $1000 recruitment bonus.

Staffing its corps of bus operators has remained a challenge for FCPS mainly because of the county's high cost of living and low unemployment rate, reducing the pool of applicants, Farbry said.

"We used to be able to recruit from Loudoun and Fauquier counties," she said, explaining that both of those jurisdictions now offer driver salaries that are comparable to what Fairfax County pays.

The cost of housing, however, is significantly lower in Loudoun and Fauquier. "That's really cut into our recruiting," Farbry said.

Every applicant FCPS does recruit is thoroughly screened, she said. Detailed reviews are made of an applicant's driving record and personal, work and medical histories. A criminal background check is also performed.

Before entering a four-week training program, every prospective bus driver candidate must pass a physical examination and drug test.

"Our standards are high. We want the best people out there," Farbry said.

Trainee Rhonda Evans on Friday, Aug. 5, was three weeks into the program held at Marshall High School in Falls Church.

A Woodbridge resident, Evans, 40, said caring for her 6-year-old son, Keith, is one reason she gave up her job as a videoconferencing specialist in Reston as well as a daily three-hour round-trip commute to drive a school bus.

Before and after he starts his school day, Keith will ride the school bus his mother will be driving this coming school year.

"He'll sit in a seat where I can see him," Evans said.

The air-conditioned, transit-style, 78-passenger school bus Evans drove as part of her training is equipped with a child safety seat housed in bench seating at the front of the vehicle.

"This job will also allow me to have some family time with my kids and my husband," she said.

Evans' training partner, 54-year-old Ruth Short of Springfield, left jobs in the construction and building management industries some 17 years ago to care for her infant grandson, Nick.

Short said she decided to try school bus driving after Nick became old enough to drive himself.

"I'm ready for the responsibility of driving a bus filled with students," she said. "I will treat them like they were my own children."

Both trainees had high praise for their instructor, Saundra Weller.

"My kids grew up on a bus as well. I also saw that as a fringe benefit," said Weller, who drove a FCPS bus for about 20 years in the Great Falls, Reston, Herndon and Vienna areas before she became a full-time instructor three years ago.

The driver training, Weller said, includes classroom work and bus driving lessons. During the last five days, a trainee accompanied by an experienced school bus operator drives a school bus on an actual run, with actual students on board.

Trainees learn driving fundamentals, defensive driving techniques, operating a bus for special education students and basic bus maintenance. Many of the lessons become part of the driving habits of the trainees while driving their own cars.

"We also create safer drivers all around," Weller said.

For more about becoming a FCPS school bus driver, contact Linda Farbry at 703-446-2010 or visit http://www.fcps.edu



©Times Community Newspapers 2005

http://www.timescommunity.com/site/tab5.cfm?newsid=15009079&BRD=2553&PAG=461&dept_id=506096&rfi=6




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JK
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USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2005 :  2:51:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Lee County (FL) is back in the news on this thread. Still 47 school bus drivers short at school start, they say they plan to keep hiring until their needs are met. Directors believe all worries on the road will improve once that happens. In the mean time trying to keep track of the kids would seem to be a nightmare - already one child is known to been lost on the bus TWICE. I'm convinced properly managed and supported school buses provide the safest transportation to and from school. Regardless, with confusion over drivers and routes and maintaining route schedules, my thought would be the buses lose their safety advantage until their are adequate drivers to cover the routes and all important training and other parts providing safe transportation are covered. I can agree with the parent that keeping her child off those buses for the time being is probably the safer choice for her child. I'm somewhat surprised that providers when short of bus drivers fail to warn parents that more diligence is needed from everyone - kids, parents and staff - until the situation is remedied. (jk)

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 08/13/2005 2:57:51 PM
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Bus64
New Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2005 :  5:21:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At $12.00/hr., we are one of the highest paid districts in our county. However, there are also very few drivers in our district who have benefits. Our drivers must average 6 hours per day to be elegible for benefits. Only 9 drivers qualify. If I didn't love my job, I would have been gone a long time ago. You can't expect people to want to make a career switch for four hours of pay a day and no benefits. Something definitely needs to change, however here in Michigan, where state legislators think we can operate on the same funding we did ten years ago, much of a raise doesn't seem feasible.

"Thank the Good Dude, I'm Saved!"

--Otto
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JK
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USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2005 :  11:52:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Teachers and school bus drivers wanted

Aug 19 2005
Charlotte Observer Brief
Charlotte, NC - Less than a week before school starts, leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are still scrambling to hire bus drivers and teachers. The district needs another 70 drivers and 56.5 teachers, counting part-time workers. Drivers need clean records; the district will provide training. Details: (980) 343-6295.

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rloving
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USA
3 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2005 :  8:11:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit rloving's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Pontiac, Michigan
I have often said that garbage men get more respect and pay than bus drivers. Garbage men in our area start out at $15.00+ an hour while bus drivers can start at $10.75 +/-. Garbage vs. children ??

I started this job because I love driving.The kids in our area can be more than just a hand full. Plus the long days and schedules. I report for work at 5:55am til 9:00am then 12:15pm til 7:00pm. In some respects that's why drivers stay is because of the good hours. Most are at 35 or more regular hours plus daily trips M-F and weekends. Even our monitors get 35 + hours. In the summer we have voluntary work and what is not filled is assigned by least senority. Summer routes vary in hours 20-35 hours plus trips. The non working drivers draw unemployment because we are not district workers.

Most are happy with the hourly pay because with the good hours and overtime it's not as bad as $7.00 hr. If your 5 years with the company you make $14.04, 6 years you make $16.10 and so on.

We don't have shortages in drivers or monitors. I do feel like there should be more training, support, pay and benefits.Actually the change in the children and parents is what's running me to the trucking idustry.
Actually there are more problems when you privatize a district. To many bosses and politics. Who knew??

Good Luck And God's Speed To All
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JK
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7307 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  09:26:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rloving

Pontiac, Michigan
I have often said that garbage men get more respect and pay than bus drivers. Garbage men in our area start out at $15.00+ an hour while bus drivers can start at $10.75 +/-. Garbage vs. children??

--

We don't have shortages in drivers or monitors. I do feel like there should be more training, support, pay and benefits.Actually the change in the children and parents is what's running me to the trucking industry. Actually there are more problems when you privatize a district. To many bosses and politics. Who knew??

Good Luck And God's Speed To All


Many years ago I did some research comparing our school district's bus driver's pay with other driving professions. I was shocked at the reality of not finding one driving job that paid less than what our bus driver's earned. Most paid substantially more with good benefits as well. As mentioned in the above quote, I also discovered that garbage truck drivers were making substantially more transporting garbage. But I would suppose what got to me was a bread truck driver starting out would earn more than double what I was earning and with excellent benefits to boot. Came close to driving a bread truck but they had a long list of applicants, including other school bus drivers, waiting to do the same thing. It was then no longer a mystery what had happened that brought on our community's chronic school bus driver shortage. We had become a free training center for other employers, all while the school board and administration claimed the pay was better here than elsewhere. Where elsewhere was could not be determined, since even neighboring school districts were paying above what our district was paying drivers. After all this came to light the board moved to increase pay some 30 percent and improved benefits. That action helped retain more drivers, but the shortage remained an issue until the district made decisions to begin helping their bus drivers deal effectively with uncivil student behavior on the buses. That process of helping improve environments on the buses did more to retain drivers than pay is my best guess, although the pay had been so low that improvement was also necessary. We still have inconsistent support from some schools, but the struggle to improve working conditions has limped along toward building a professional fleet of competent school bus drivers. It can be a slow process, which only goes to show that slow must be compensated by starting the improvements sooner than later. Whatever it takes, start the process now, ready or not, toward ending child neglect and bus driver maltreatment on the school buses. Our community continues to have a modest shortage ... regardless, I would expect the struggle to improve working conditions will eventually yield a surplus of applicants to drive our community's school buses. Recently, we seem to be getting a few applications from school bus drivers currently at other school districts, a good sign that we are headed in the right direction. (jk)

As the wheels turn

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.






Edited by - JK on 09/17/2005 09:41:12 AM
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bigbus9807
Active Member

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2005 :  8:54:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit bigbus9807's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think if you pay your drivers a living wage and treat them with respect you will keep your experienced drivers.In my company they pay well,[17.05 after 5 years ,2 weeks paid vacation, all the holidays,4 snow days,6 days earned sick,or 18.05 with no hol,vac,or sick] but they do not give the drivers the respect they deserve.Our owner is always saying we are one big family but most of us are treated like we don't count.There is alot of favoritism at our yard.This Sept. we got a new office manager and so far he is great.He goes by the book and after being a driver since '96 I finally got some respect.He made a sign up list for all the extra work that used to go to the favorites.Now the rest of us get a chance to work a little extra.I am number 19 on the seniority list out of around 90 or so, and never got any extra work.When I complained I was told the work is given out at the discretion of the dispatcher.After a lot of people quitting they finally decided to do the right thing and hired my new boss.I made 38 1/2 hrs last week and 37 1/2 this week.That is the most hours I have ever made :-] I am finally not feeling resentful at my job and am a better busdriver because of it.
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Admin
Administrator

USA
1662 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2023 :  08:07:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does investing in safety equipment like seat belts affect wages for school bus drivers? https://www.schoolbusfleet.com/10040423/iowa-to-require-seat-belts-on-all-new-school-buses
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