Springfield Public Schools offers new incentives to recruit bus drivers, other districts also seek to fill positions

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield Public Schools will expand its bus routes for the upcoming school year, but the district is looking for new bus drivers to help make it happen.

Karen Hale loves her job as a bus driver with the district. She says she’s really got a good relationship with the students she drives.

“They’re like your own kids. The more you’re around them and the longer you drive them,” said Hale. “Just spending time with them and bonding with them makes it so much easier to ride with them.”

SPS is hoping to fill around 30 more positions with people like Hale, who really like kids. The district is even offering new incentives to get more people to join their fleet.

“For each quarter that they have a safe driving record, they can earn up to $1,000,” said Jonathan Sheldon, the director for the district, on the new program.

That’s up to $4,000 over the course of a year. The district needs more drivers because they’ve added routes for this upcoming year.

“About 3,000 more high school students that will now be bus eligible that weren’t eligible in the past, in addition to students that attend our magnet sites,” said Sheldon.

Ozark Public Schools is also hiring, looking to fill around 12 positions.

Their transportation director, Dean Wake, says that a lot of people are nervous about driving a big bus, which might make them shy away from trying. He says the new buses are pretty easy to navigate.

“It’s not much different than driving your everyday vehicle,” said Wake. “You’ve got a few more mirrors and a couple more seats, but other than that, it’s pretty simple.”

The Ozark School District has raised their pay this year to $17.90 an hour to start. Those with more experience can earn up to $21 an hour.

Nixa Public Schools and Republic Public Schools are both also hiring drivers for this upcoming school year.

For more information on how to apply for bus jobs or to learn about Springfield Publics Schools’ upcoming job fair, CLICK HERE.

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