Bus drivers are a vital part of school systems, charged with carrying precious cargo throughout the school year to local schools, on field trips or to sports events. Unfortunately Lincoln County Schools is experiencing an extreme shortage due to some veteran drivers retiring or relocating.
Those who have entertained the idea of becoming a part-time county bus driver, might consider the positive impact they could have on children, in addition to earning extra income. Drivers are now offered extra incentives, such as the availability of health insurance. Even though the normal schedule for a bus driver is only about three hours per day, five days per week, those who wish to work more than 180 active days per year, have the option of driving for class field trips, many sports events throughout the school year and they can even drive extra routes. “Salary is $21 per hour for a beginning driver with no experience,” said Roxanne Thomas, Transportation Assistant to Gill at the Lincoln County School Bus Garage.
Lincoln County School Bus Garage will train applicants with all of the necessary skill sets they need for the school bus tests. “We’ll set you up to do the mandatory Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) online,” Thomas said. It involves watching video and taking quizzes, followed by a comprehensive test. “This is a new requirement by the Federal Motor Safety Carriers Association.”
At one time many local small farmers or ministers would drive, but that’s not generally the case these days. Thomas said she has often thought this would be an ideal job for a stay-at-home mom, since they will be on the same schedule as their children. It’s also a great job for a retired individual.
Thomas explained that a possible scenario for a field trip would be this, “A driver makes $.30 a mile and $7.25 an hour for field trips/athletic trips. Let's say the first grade at Highland Rim wants to go to the Nashville Zoo. The approximate mileage is 190 miles round trip. So that's 190 x .30 = $57.00 for mileage. If the trip takes from 8 am until 2:30 pm, that's 6 1/2 hours. 6 1/2 x $7.25 = 47.15. Adding those together, that's $104.15 extra pay for a day at the zoo,” she said.
Other requirements include a Department of Transportation physical, studying a book for a CDL test at Department of Motor Vehicles, testing for CDL Class B license with passenger and school bus endorsements and written tests. Other requirements include filling out an application, having a fingerprint and background check and a pre-employment drug test.
For additional information about becoming a school bus driver, contact Keith Gill or Roxanne Thomas at 433-3565.