School Bus Driver Shortage in Sioux Falls School District
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- The school year is just weeks away, which means time is running out for the Sioux Falls School District to fill an important employment gap. Not teachers, but bus drivers. The race is on to find 30 more.
Driving a school bus is the best start and end to Arthur Degelder’s day.
“I enjoy the interaction with the students. I come home at the end of the day and I had a good day. Everyday is kind of a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Degelder.
He’s been a bus driver in Sioux Falls for five years. He says the kids are the number one reason why he does this job.
“Starting with day one we have a picture of the students and I try to learn one or two students names everyday and then maybe in three or four months I got it down pat, I can say good morning to each one,” said Degelder.
He says being a bus driver is a great part-time job now that he’s retired and recommends others try it.
To be successful you have to stay focused.
“You’re dealing with a 40-foot bus that’s 16-tons, so you always want to know what’s going on around you,” said Kevin Hansen, Safety Director for School Bus Inc.
Safety is the top priority.
”From the time we get on the bus to the time we go home we’re think safety first. How can we do what we’re doing safely,” said Degelder.
Driving a big bus may seem intimidating, but before getting a license and hitting the road folks are required to do 40 hours of training.
Some of that is in the classroom and then 15 hours on the road.
“We go out and do driving through the housing area, we take them to the schools and show them how they load and unload kids, we take them out to the interstate and see how they react with cars around them,” said Hansen.
There’s also an extensive background check and drug test. It takes about 14 days to train and a month to get the license needed to legally drive a school bus. If you are unsure if driving a bus is the right fit for you, you can go for a test run in the School Bus Inc. parking lot with a seasoned driver like Degelder to see if you like it.
“Once they’ve done some driving they say that wasn’t so bad,” said Degelder.
The job is part-time, but drivers could pick up extra hours if needed. Starting pay is $18.45 an hour. If you are interested in becoming a driver you can call School Bus Inc. at (605)- 334-6644.