REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: Comments from school superintendent, transportation supervisor, driver)
Weeks after classes started, the Redmond School District, like others in Central Oregon, is still scrambling to make sure students get to and from school, due to a shortage of bus drivers that's actually a nationwide problem.
The Redmond district is hoping perks, including an increased employee referral bonus and $16.01-an-hour starting wage, will do the trick.
Superintendent Mike McIntosh said Friday no one is certain why it’s so hard to find and retain bus drivers, but it’s been an ongoing problem.
“We know that we can’t find enough drivers to send our kids on field trips and pick them up to and from school. So, it’s been an interesting dilemma for us to solve,” he said.
Like students at other districts, Redmond students are missing out on extracurricular activities, such as sporting events and field trips. Right now, the transportation department is about 10 people short of its comfortable goal of 55 drivers.
“We’re scrambling,” said Michelle Rainville, the transportation supervisor. “Our shop staff drive buses. Our training staff drive buses, and they have other jobs to do. They’re not being able to accomplish those because we have to get those kids to and from school. That’s our most important part of the day.”
Right now, time off for drivers isn’t guaranteed, and a sick day can put a lot of pressure on the rest of the team.
The district provides free training for new drivers and a $500 signing bonus. Dalene Frazier, who has been driving buses for a decade, said the flexible schedule and impact it had on her family time was a selling point.
“I had the same school schedule as my kids, so I ended up getting the same holidays off that they do," she said. " I have three months of summer with them, and I get paid for those three months to go have fun with my kids.”
You can find more information below:
Here's a news release issued Friday by the school district in its effort to get more bus drivers hired:
The Redmond School District is hiring new bus drivers Transportation Services Supervisor Michelle Rainville announced this week.
"Like much of the state and even the country, we're stretched very thin with our number of bus drivers," Rainville said. "We'd like to add several more drivers to fill regular shifts and provide support for team trips and field trips as needed."
RSD drivers start at $16.01 per hour (overtime is available) and are eligible for a benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision insurance, long-term disability insurance and a membership in Oregon's state pension program. New drivers are also eligible for a $500 signing bonus after a successful 90 days.
"Beyond our competitive pay and excellent benefits package, this is a meaningful job that has daily impact on the lives of the kids in our district," Rainville added. "We're looking forward to adding new members to our team who understand the value that drivers bring to a community."
Rainville emphasized the flexibility of the bus driver positions, stating that drivers are able to drive a morning route, have the middle of the day to themselves, then drive an afternoon route. Drivers generally only work the school year, with traditional school breaks and summers off.
Prior experience is not necessary and the district provides paid training for new drivers.
A detailed job description is available at: https://redmond.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=3316.
Contact Transportation Services at 541-923-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.