Driving a school bus is a tough job and many school districts are having a hard time finding people willing to do it.
That’s why the Cleveland City School District is trying something new this summer to attract qualified drivers.
The district is offering a training class to teach people how to drive a school bus and help prepare them to get their CDL license.
“It's difficult because I think now people realize the responsibility that's involved. It's not just a matter of getting behind the wheel and driving around. There's actually a very large responsibility and as a driver you're taking on the responsibility of 60 children at any given time who are riding the bus,” said Hal Taylor, Director of Maintenance and Transportation.
Taylor told Channel 3 the Woodmore Elementary School bus crash last year that killed six children was an eye opener for many people.
“Woodmore has had an impact on us because locally people see how serious it is and the responsibility of driving a school bus so we've had fewer people actually apply to become drivers,” said Taylor.
Cleveland City Schools is looking for qualified applicants who understand the responsibility of driving a school bus.
“A bus driver is the first person to see a student a lot of times and they're the last person to see a student off in the afternoon so anything we can do to provide our students with a positive environment for the day, that's what it's all about,” said Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer.
During the class, instructors will teach applicants about the components of a school bus. They’ve also set up a driving course so potential drivers can get comfortable maneuvering a school bus in a safe environment.
This is the first time Cleveland City Schools has offered a class to teach a group of people at once and pay for the training from start to finish.
The district is short a few drivers right now. It needs 36 drivers on staff to cover all routes when school begins in the fall. The positions are part-time. Taylor told Channel 3 the district is constantly hiring new people.
The training program starts next week.
Anyone interested should fill out an application as soon as possible.
Contact Cleveland City Schools at (423) 472-9571 or pick up an application at the district office located at 4300 Mouse Creek Road in Cleveland, TN.