Even custodians, print shop workers driving school buses for local district amid shortage

The West Carrollton School District is seeking bus drivers to fill substitute and regular route positions ahead of a foreseen shortage of drivers that it said could begin to affect transportation of students. STAFF FILE PHOTO

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The West Carrollton School District is seeking bus drivers to fill substitute and regular route positions ahead of a foreseen shortage of drivers that it said could begin to affect transportation of students. STAFF FILE PHOTO

West Carrollton seeking drivers to make sure kids can get to school

WEST CARROLLTON — The West Carrollton School District is seeking bus drivers to fill substitute and regular route positions ahead of a foreseen shortage of drivers that it said could begin to affect transportation of students.

Bus driver shortages that have affected schools nationwide, even prior to COVID, but the district said it has managed to keep buses on the road.

“Bus drivers are an important part of a student’s day,” said Janine Corbett, spokeswoman for the school district. “Our drivers make sure students arrive safely at school and back at home on time.”

Belinda Cox, the district’s transportation supervisor, told the Dayton Daily News the district has been fortunate to not need to cancel any routes or deal with transportation delays, but that has been because it has employees working in other positions that have been able to drive.

“We currently have two custodians, one maintenance worker, one print shop worker and one bus aide who are being pulled from their regular jobs to drive when necessary,” Cox said. “Out of these five, usually three are asked to drive every day. Getting kids to school and back home is a priority, but it does mean that other jobs aren’t getting done when those employees are driving.”

Cox and her two assistants all have a commercial driver’s license, and at least one of them has been driving every day for the last month, meaning approximately six employees in other positions are being asked to fill in as substitute drivers every day.

She said driver absences occur throughout the year due to illness or personal reason, and some of the regular employees mentioned above have not been able to drive recently because of illness.

Cox said she has reviewed routes and combined them wherever possible to help alleviate the need for as many drivers. She said she does this every year and continues to review routes.

Training is provided to assist in securing a CDL license. Those interested should contact Cox at bcox@wcsd.k12.oh.us or 937-859-5121, ext. 9.

There are 34 regular drivers in the school district, and only one substitute driver other than employees in other positions, she said. Paid training for potential drivers is provided at $14 per hour and the cost of the CDL test and license is reimbursed. The pay for substitute drivers and the starting pay for drivers is $19.38 per hour.

Substitute employees are vital in school districts, Cox said.

“When we hear ‘substitute’ referring to a school district, we often think substitute teachers, but substitutes are also needed in support positions,” she said. “One of the most important support positions is being a bus driver.”

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