Perrysburg Schools have gone to advertising, Facebook posts, Craigslist listings, and on Thursday a meet-and-greet to try to find more bus drivers.
Sporting events have been canceled or pushed back to later in the day because the district has had trouble having enough bus drivers. Transportation Director Ellen Moser and her two mechanics have, on occasion, had to drive buses to fill voids.
The district has 33 routes, and the same amount of drivers for them, but on good days only three substitute drivers for field trips, sporting events, or to fill in for a sick or gone regular driver.
Substitute driver and former police chief Rick Gilts said he works just about every day as a fill-in driver.
The district‘s goal would to have about 10 substitute drivers, Ms. Moser said. The district's need is growing because three drivers are retiring after this year and at least two more are retiring in December. With the student enrollment growth in the district, possibly three more bus routes will be added this fall.
"I feel pretty good," Ms. Moser said near the end of the meet and greet.
About 12 people came to the event to get information on the open positions, four of whom already had the needed commercial driver’s license Level 2.
Others had expressed interest but couldn't make it Thursday.
"We want to bring in qualified people," Ms. Moser said. "They have to drive in the (tough) weather and dark and pick up students. It is a huge responsibility."
To become a driver, applicants will have an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles license check for any reckless driving or driving under the influence charges. Then, the applicant must take a four-day days of four hours a day. And when they start on the job, they will have a trainer with them initially.
Ms. Moser said the lack of bus drivers is an issue with many districts in the area. She thinks so much liability and responsibility of having all those students lives in your hands is a lot of pressure and reduces the pool of potential drivers.
The drivers are paid $17.67 a hour for part-time and $19.66 an hour for full-time.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.