• 73°

Rowan-Salisbury facing shortage of bus drivers

With just a week to go before the start of classes, the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s transportation department is facing a critical shortage of bus drivers.

District officials blame state budget uncertainties and regular turnover for the predicament.

Transportation Director Tim Beck said 60 percent of the district’s bus drivers are teacher assistants, and with state funding unsure for those teacher assistant positions, they lost some drivers over the summer.

“We’ve lost at least 50,” he said.

Beck said most of the vacancies are substitute bus drivers, although there are a few immediate vacancies for permanent drivers.

“Right now, we’re utilizing every warm body that can drive a bus,” he said. “Our subs are in the single digits.”

With 250 bus drivers each day, the district has a high need for substitutes. Beck said they could use between 20 and 30 a day.

The transportation department has reached out to potential applicants through ConnectEd messages, at job fairs and with signs posted on the bus garage lawn. They’ve also tightened their bus routes and implemented more bus sharing between schools, made possible by the district’s new bell times.

To be eligible to become a bus driver, an individual must be at least 18 years old. They must have had their driver’s license for at least six months, and have no more than one moving violation in the last 12 months and no more than three in the last five years. An applicant must never have had a DWI or DUI, or had their license suspended in the last five years.

Interested individuals must apply for the position on the school system’s website, then contact the transportation department to set up a training date.

Potential bus drivers must go through three days of classroom work and three days of training behind the wheel before they can receive their CDL class B license. In addition, they must get a pocket card, which is an endorsement from the state.

The class is provided at no charge, and all but $12 of the $93 CDL license is provided. The $12 covers the applicant’s individual license. There’s an $89 charge at ProMed for the necessary physical and drug test, but $30 of that fee will be reimbursed, as well. Current Rowan-Salisbury employees are reimbursed immediately, while new employees must drive 30 days before receiving reimbursement.

They must also be able to pass a drug test and a background check.

Beck said there’s usually a two-month period between when an individual applies and when they begin working.

Bus drivers typically work between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m. and between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.

“We can work with just about anyone’s schedule,” Beck said, explaining that bus drivers can work one time slot or both.

“It’s a great job for a stay-at-home mom, for example,” he said.

For more information, visit the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s website and go to the transportation section, or call Tonya Cantrell at 704-639-3051, extension 112.

Comments

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry officials will request correction to 2020 Census count

Local

Salisbury city manager describes short-term solutions for firefighter pay concerns

Education

17 rackets donated to Erwin Middle School tennis teams

Local

Spencer town hall project at Park Plaza moving along

Nation/World

‘Soul-crushing’: US COVID-19 deaths are topping 1,900 a day

Nation/World

White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants

Nation/World

House OKs debt and funding plan, inviting clash with GOP

Nation/World

China, US unveil separate big steps to fight climate change

Local

Charlotte-based developer chosen for Empire Hotel project

Coronavirus

COVID-19 deaths in Rowan grow to 378 since start of pandemic

Coronavirus

375 employees noncompliant with Novant Health’s vaccination requirement

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 21

Local

Salisbury woman wins $200,000 from scratch-off ticket

Local

Commissioners approve incentive agreement for ‘I-85 Commerce Center’ on Webb Road

Education

State Employees Credit Union commits $1.5 million to new Partners in Learning center

Local

Salisbury council to discuss grant for thermal cameras, reconsider rezoning for future Goodwill store

Elections

Early voting for 2021 municipal elections begin Oct. 14

Nation/World

COVID has killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu

Nation/World

US officials defend expulsion of Haitians from Texas town

Nation/World

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 fatalities bring September death toll to 27

Business

New ambulance company moves into Rowan County, filling need as COVID hospitalizations remain high

Crime

Blotter: Woman’s car shot several times on Pinehurst Street in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19