Shelby County Schools seeks new bus drivers

Published 11:19 am Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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By SASHA JOHNS | Special to the Reporter

Shelby County Schools is on the lookout for new school bus drivers to meet the ongoing needs and growth of the county’s school transportation system.

Currently, there are available driver positions all over the county, but there is also a great need for substitute drivers, particularly in the Helena and Oak Mountain school systems.

Wanda Adams, who works out of the main Bus Shop in Columbiana, wants potential drivers to know that there are benefits to both having a regular route and being a substitute driver and that each offers attributes that may appeal to different kinds of candidates.

“The obvious benefit to taking on a regular route is the county benefits like health insurance and retirement, but substitute drivers have more flexibility in their schedules and can choose which days they want to work,” Adams said. “And of course, there (is no working on) weekends or holidays for drivers.”

There are also available opportunities for drivers to pick up extra work, such as driving for field trips and transporting students and teams for games.

Bus driving is a great job for retirees and stay at home parents, but often entrepreneurs find that it works well with their schedules too, and it presents a viable route to receive benefits.

The Bus Shop will accept a new class of trainees on Thursday, Jan. 4, but wants interested parties to know there are a few things that candidates need to accomplish to qualify for the class. Most importantly, those interested need to acquire a CDL Learners Permit and must submit to a background check as well as a few other prerequisites.

One new driver, Connor Preston, is one of several new additions to the roster who completed the most recent class this past fall and did so in a search to acquire insurance. Preston, who is also a children’s minister at a local church, is currently working as a substitute driver in Columbiana.

“When I first started the classes, I didn’t realize all the things I’d have to learn when it came to the safety checks you have to memorize for the pre-trip and it was a little intimidating,” Preston said. “Austin Shifflet, one of the bus mechanics, was a great trainer though and it ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be.”

Interested candidates can hear more information about the qualifications and prerequisites needed to join the January bus class by visiting the Shelby County Board of Education website under the Transportation tab or by calling the Bus Shop at 205-682-7130.