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Richland Two gains almost 40 new applicants for bus driver positions

Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland School District Two is spreading the word about its shortage of bus drivers and urging those looking for jobs to consider getting behind the wheel.

Many districts in the Midlands are struggling with a shortage of bus drivers. With the return of face-to-face learning, few drivers are responsible for large groups of students.

Because drivers are making more routes due to social distancing requirements on buses, district officials say many parents choose to take their children by car, further adding to traffic issues.

“They’re doing double runs and they’re getting home later,” said Richland Two Bus Safety Training Manager Jodi Regis.

Regis has been driving buses for 26 years, and she says it’s the kids that keep her coming back year after year.

“When they come up to you and show you how much love and respect they have for you as your driver, that’s the rewarding part,” said Regis.

It’s about having a positive impact on the kids, says driver Grace Hayes.

“Helping a child along the way, that’s our goal,” said Hayes.

“The drivers are really good role models,” said Regis. “So, it’s that extra parent, the extra person to be able to say to the child, and we need people like that.”

Just this weekend through word-of-mouth from current drivers, the district gained 40 new applicants for potential bus drivers.

An influx of new drivers should help alleviate stress for the team and traffic for everyone in the area, district coordinators say.

The district has put together a list of incentives to drive in more applicants:

  • The starting salary is $16.36 with a minimum guarantee of seven hours per day for 183 days of work annually. Extra pay can be earned from field trips, after-school programs, and more.
  • South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority health and dental benefits, and retirement plans.
  • Sign-On Bonus – In the first year, new drivers with no experience can earn up to $1,500. New drivers with experience and a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can earn up to $2,250. New drivers with additional credentials can earn up to $3,000. Richland Two offers paid CDL training for interested applicants.
  • Performance Bonus – Drivers with perfect attendance and no at-fault accidents can earn $100 per month up to $1,000 per year.
  • Longevity Retention Incentive - To keep trained drivers in Richland Two, the district is offering these annual incentives: Drivers with zero to three years of experience will receive $500; four to seven years of experience $750; eight to 10 years of experience $1,000; 11 to 15 years of experience $1,250; 16 to 20 years of experience $1,500; and 20 plus years of experience $2,000.
  • There is a critical need for school bus drivers across the state and the nation. Richland Two leaders have designed this highly competitive salary and incentive package to address this need which directly impacts the district’s ability to deliver premier teaching and learning services to students.

Applicants must be 21 years or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass background checks.

For more information call 803-419-2524.

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