Substitute school bus drivers need is high

Published 7:33 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

By SASHA JOHNS | Special to the Reporter

The new school year is well underway in Shelby County, and along with it so is the need for school bus drivers.

Every year, the Board of Education needs to fill over 300 routes with drivers. While there are hundreds of dedicated long-time drivers, many have been running multiple routes over the last couple of years in order to make sure every kid can get to school.

This year, the need is particularly strong when it comes to substitute drivers.

“We could easily fill at least 20 substitute driver positions immediately if we had the drivers,” Wanda Adams from the transportation department said.

Adams explained that currently there are only three to four subs in some districts that have large school systems. The Chelsea school system, for instance, employs 60 drivers and currently only has four substitute drivers to fill in the gaps when full-time drivers are sick or need time off. This situation makes for overworked substitutes across the county and makes it hard for full-time drivers to take days off when they need to for personal reasons.

Sub-drivers have the great benefit of flexibility when it comes to working Adams said.

“They can choose when they work, basically,” she said. “Some of our subs only run routes for us in the mornings, for instance, others can only do afternoons. They can choose how many days a week they can work without obligation, unlike full-time drivers.”

Retirees, stay-at-home moms and entrepreneurs that set their own schedules, are examples of people that may make good candidates for substitute bus drivers.

Subs make over $80 a day for filling in for a whole morning and afternoon route, and they will be up for a four percent increase along with the rest of the BOE employees this coming October. According to Adams, it’s a great part-time job opportunity.

The next bus class for Shelby County starts Oct. 4 at the Bus Shop in Columbiana. Interested parties should obtain a class B CDL driver’s permit before that date if they would like to go through the class which lasts about two weeks and includes classes on safety and time practicing with a licensed driver on the road.

Those who might be a good candidate for full-time or substitute bus driving and have questions can reach out to Adams at the Bus Shop in Columbiana at WAdams@shelbyed.org or call the bus shop at 205-682-7130.