EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Many kids across Oklahoma are gearing up to head to school but there’s a real need for people to drive them there!
Every year, at least some districts see a bus driver shortage.
This year, the need seems to be greater than before, particularly in Edmond, where there are 30 positions open.
“If you really want to make an impact on the youth of today, there’s no better way to do it than associating with these kids on the bus,” said Jim Slaughter, who has been behind the wheel of a school bus for 18 years.
“I was going to drive maybe a year, see how it worked out. I just couldn’t quite walk away from it.”
He still knows the name of every student and has kept up with them as they’ve gone on to raise families of their own.
“These youngsters, I saw every day, morning and evening and you get to know them,” said Slaughter.
Every year, Edmond and other districts struggle to find drivers. However, this one is different with 30 open positions less than a month before school starts.
“We did lose some bus drivers last year to COVID and with bus drivers, they’re typically older and more fearful of the virus. But nationwide, we’re having a workforce shortage and we’re certainly experiencing that at Edmond Public Schools,” said Susan Parks-Schlepp, with Edmond Public Schools.
Drivers’ pay starts at $14/hour in Edmond.
The job also includes health insurance and retirement benefits, but Slaughter says the real value is in the bonds formed inside those yellow walls.
“I can teach anybody to turn a steering wheel but the relationship building is something they should experience,” he said.
We’re told it’s a good job for everyone from retirees to parents to college students.
College students studying to be teachers can get a three-year head start on accruing years toward retirement.
Drivers receive training as well as teachers’ retirement and health insurance.
Prospective drivers should have a clean driving record with no more than two moving violations in a three-year period.
You can apply at edmondschools.net.
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