Indiana school districts face bus driver shortage
SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Southern Indiana school districts facing a shortage of bus drivers have increased the starting pay in hopes of luring more people to apply for the jobs.
The Greater Clark and West Clark school districts and the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. have increased driver pay in recent years to attract more candidates willing to ferry students to and from schools, the News and Tribune reported .
“I wouldn’t say we are over-abundant in staffing with drivers ... but we are operating at full capacity,” said Tom Brillhart, assistant superintendent of support services for West Clark.
The pay is within a district’s control, but the required CDL-B license qualification is not. That criterion limits the candidate pool of qualified drivers.
“I think ... it’s because you can’t just hire a driver,” said Dave Rarick, transportation director for the Greater Clark district. “They have to have all the endorsements — Class B CDL, school bus endorsements, there’s a three-day class through Department of Education to get a yellow card. There’s a physical, a drug test. There’s so many hoops to jump through.”
The starting pay at Greater Clark has increased by $3 an hour for bus monitors and even more than that for drivers since Rarick was hired as director. He said the abnormal hours are ideal for retirees looking for a little extra income, for a business owner or someone who already has a part-time job.
Finding interested candidates that can go through the “hoops” Rarick mentioned can be tricky, said Rick Cathcart, the assistant director of transportation for the New Albany-Floyd County district. But he said that once drivers are hired, they tend to stick around for a long time.
Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., http://www.newsandtribune.com