Bus drivers needed for several AL school systems - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Bus drivers needed for several AL school systems

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The Montgomery County Public School District is facing a shortage of school bus drivers and the school system is by far not alone.

It appears to be a reflection of the times.

"I do enjoy it," said Richard Thompson.

Thompson has been driving children to and fro for 11 years in Elmore County, and admitted the job is not for the faint of heart.

"Kids can be challenging, driving a bus can be challenging," he said.

Elmore County is in the unusual position of not having a shortage, but will in the future if the county continues to grow.

"We are going to have to look in the future about getting some more additional drivers," said Ray Mullino who heads up the Elmore County Public Schools' transportation department.

A few miles away in Montgomery County, it's an entirely different story. Montgomery County School officials say they need 25 more drivers to fill out this year's roster. On average, 10 or so drivers resign at the end of every school for various reasons.

"It just causes a problem, not having that," said Donald Dotson, executive director of operations for Montgomery County Public Schools.

Dotson agrees with Thompson that getting behind the wheel of a 30,000 pound bus full of school children takes a special personality and a keen skill set.

School district leaders say it's a job that requires compassion for children, a joy for driving and divine patience.

Still, school leaders insist the benefits are good, full benefits including health insurance and a lot of days off. Montgomery County pays drivers a little more than $12,000 a year while Elmore County is a bit higher at $16,000 a year.

To be fair, the shortage of drivers extends far beyond the River Region.

"Really all over the country there is a shortage of drivers," Mullino said.

Dotson says some of his drivers are having to double up on their travel time to make sure Montgomery County school children get to school on time. While this is not an issue yet for Mullino's team of more than 100, it could be down the road.

Autauga County Public School officials say they are fully staffed.. no shortage.

Montgomery and Elmore County school leaders encourage potential drivers to apply online on those respective county school websites.

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