Rowan-Salisbury, Kannapolis City school systems looking for bus drivers

Published 12:10 am Monday, June 27, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — Time has passed, but Rowan-Salisbury Schools is still feeling the effects of state-mandated cuts to teacher assistant positions.

“I think it affected the entire state but here, I think roughly 60 percent of our TAs were bus drivers,” Transportation Director Tim Beck said.

When positions were cut, the system was left scrambling to fill bus driver positions, and Beck said the pool of substitute drivers was “immediately exhausted.” It’s a loss the system is still trying to recoup.

Signs reading “bus drivers needed” are staked out in front of the Old Concord Road bus garage and in the yards of several schools. Beck said the signs have generated a lot of interest, but the system has approximately 15-20 job openings to fill before school starts Aug. 29.

“It’s just a never-ending thing,” he said.

But driving a bus would be a perfect opportunity for the right person, Beck said — a retiree or single mom looking for part-time work, or a part-time system employee looking to move up to full-time.

Many existing positions are filled by teacher assistants — which are required by the system to be dual employees – or custodial employees. Beck said the system is also looking at giving food service employees dual employment, which would allow many of them to be full-time workers.

Approximately 50 percent of students attending Rowan-Salisbury Schools take the bus, Beck said, and every student will ride a bus at some point during the year during school trips or activities – it can be fulfilling work.

But it’s not for everyone.

Depending on which school an employee drives for, he or she may need to work from 5:30 a.m. to 8 or 8:30 a.m., or from about 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Kannapolis City Schools, which is also advertising for bus drivers, requires its drivers to have a positive attitude and be willing to work effectively with students and adults.

There are also several state and system requirements interested applicants must meet.

Drivers must have:

  • A valid N.C. driver’s license and at least six months driving experience.
  • Must be at least 18 years old for RSS and 21 years old for KCS.
  • No DUI or DWI convictions in his or her driving history for RSS and none within the past five years, or no more than one in his or her entire driving history for KCS.
  • No more than one moving violation in the past 12 months.
  • No license suspension within the past five years.
  • No speeding tickets over 15 mph for KCS.
  • No reckless driving convictions within the past five years.
  • Must be able bodied and free of physical handicaps that would affect ability to drive
  • Must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye with or without corrective lenses
  • Must not suffer from chronic diseases or health conditions that would affect driving ability

Rowan-Salisbury Schools will offer a free, three-day training course for interested drivers followed by three free days of behind-the-wheel training. Those hired will be reimbursed for all costs associated with a CDL license after 30 days of employment.

Salaries start at $11.02 per hour for Rowan-Salisbury Schools and at $11.19 per hour for Kannapolis City Schools.

Kannapolis City Schools will hold a job fair Thursday for potential drivers at the system’s central office at 100 Denver St., Kannapolis. The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools will hold a training class July 25-27 for potential drivers. Those interested should contact the transportation department at 704-245-6702.

“If we get one driver out of that, to us it’s worth it,” Beck said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.