Clay County needs school bus drivers

By Heather Leigh - Reporter

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - The Clay County School District needs bus drivers.

The district has about 200 drivers, but it would like to have 240. The shortage could keep students from getting to and from school on time.

Robert Waremburg, director of transportation, said the district is looking for people who love kids and may be wanting to give back to the community. Some of the perks of the job are getting summers and holidays off, and having benefits.

Waremburg said being a bus driver can be very rewarding.

"You have the opportunity to watch students grow up, and that's something that a lot of our drivers describe as really precious," he said. "They actually get to see those students year after year go from the early years of elementary school all the way to graduation."

Waremburg said the department has all of the full-time driver positions covered, but if any of them call in sick or take off for an extended period of time, a substitute driver is the go-to fill-in. Waremburg said if there aren't enough sub drivers, the routes have to be adjusted, with more time alotted to pick kids up and drop them off.

On top of that, field trips can also be affected.

"It's very disappointing if we're unable to get the students to their planned field trip when it's a fun activity or an athletic event, when our first responsibility has to be home to school and school to home," Waremburg said.

Starting pay for drivers is $10.18 an hour, and training takes about two months. After that, drivers can start their routes.

The district's transportation department said it doesn't matter if you're 4 foot 1 or 6 foot 7, the buses can accommodate any size driver.

Waremburg said the one thing drivers have to be able to deal with is no air conditioning. Fortunately, the summer is almost over.

Clay County has released its two-week enrollment numbers. It projected 34,817 students, but 35,007 showed up. The transportation department said the more kids, the more bus drivers are needed.

If you are interested in becoming a school bus driver in Clay County, there are a few requirements. You must have a safe driving history for at least five years and no DUIs. You must also have a background check and substance abuse testing, plus a valid commercial driver's license. If you don't have a license, the transportation department offers free commercial driver's license training.

For more information, go to the Clay County Schools website.

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