YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the need for school bus drivers, especially substitute drivers, continues to surge, agencies like the Mahoning County Education Service Center hope to offer a solution.
“Many of our districts don’t have subs. They have nobody on their subs list. Many of our districts are worried that if they get a flu bug, that they’re probably going to have to cancel school, not because of students or because of weather, but because they don’t have enough drivers,” said Jim Herrholtz, deputy superintendent of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.
The Educational Service Center hosted an informational meeting on what it takes to obtain a job as a bus driver on Thursday. Approximately 100 people attended the meeting.
They were told about the strict requirements that they will have to meet, including passing a physical, drug screen and federal and state background checks.
If they pass, the school that hires them will pay for their CDL training and license, but they must work for the district for one year or pay back the $700 fee.
Herrholtz said the requirements for becoming a bus driver are strict, but they are necessary.
“When you’re driving a bus and you have kids, you wear many hats. That’s just the way it is,” he said. “You’re the counselor. You’re the nurse. You’re a mom. You’re a dad. Remember, drivers — that’s the first person that students sees when they start the morning, and it’s the last person they see when they end the day.”
Once trained, job openings are immediate for various school districts across Mahoning County.
A substitute bus driver is a part-time job and does not come with benefits. However, there is a possibility for eventual contracted positions, earning a minimum of $15 to $20 an hour when positions open.