How would you like to be an important part of the lives of Chelsea children?
Bus drivers and bus monitors work hard to safely transport your children back and forth to their respective schools and extracurricular activities.
But driving a bus, or being a bus monitor, is so much more than that.
Studies show that riding the school bus remains the safest means of transportation to get children to and from school says Rick Boham, transportation director for the Chelsea District Schools.
Your child’s bus driver or monitor is a conduit for your student’s day. The bus driver is the first person to greet your child in the morning en route to school and the last person who sees your child at the end of the school day.
And yes, the drivers and monitors know all the names of the students on their routes.
Boham says there are many rewards derived from choosing to be a bus driver or a bus monitor – rewards that supersede an hourly salary and benefits.
Connie Cook, a trainer and 20-year driver, says “drivers (and monitors) make a difference in children’s lives.”
The job is a rewarding one, she says, and Cook would know since she’s been driving school buses for more than 20 years.
When she got started, Cook says her children were swimmers. “I got to see them swim, and get paid for it.”
She enjoys the flexibility of the schedule as well.
“Connie’s a special education driver and when these kids see Connie, and her monitor Kathy (Watkin), they smile,” Boham says.
Substitute drivers make $15 an hour, while full-time first year drivers make $15.45 per hour.
Currently, the district would like to hire two full-time drivers and additional bus monitors, who make $11.09 an hour.
Applicants can fill out an application here and go through the hiring process, which includes a criminal background check. All training is provided by the school district.
Applicants go through a 3-day course through ABC Driving School of Jackson and spend 2-4 weeks of in-house training at the transportation center.
“Eighty percent of our bus drivers are women,” said Boham, which include 19 full-time and 11 substitute drivers for the 21 bus routes.
A typical day begins at 6 a.m., when the drivers arrive and go through their pre-route checks of their busses and they are back at the transportation center by about 8 a.m.
In the afternoon, drivers arrive about 2:30 p.m. for another round of pre-route checks and they are back at the facility by 4 or 4:30 p.m.
A bus driving job is a good choice for stay-at-home parents, retirees and parents of children in the schools, Boham says. “They have the middle of the day open.”
Plus, for parents of children in the district, the school schedule mirrors the driver and monitor work days. “When your children are in school, you’re working; when schools are closed and your children are home, you can be right there with them,” Boham says.
In fact, that’s how he got his start driving a bus. “My wife’s a teacher and I had two children in the schools. All of us were off at the same time,” Boham says.
Drivers bid on which route they want in August – before the school year begins. The granting of those requests is based on seniority, but there are also opportunities to drive children on field trips as well as to and from sporting events.
Spring and fall are the busiest seasons for drivers, Boham says, because of additional sports and field trip opportunities.
“Most drivers are off all summer, but there are some limited options for additional work,” Boham says.
In addition to hiring bus drivers, the district is also hoping to hire bus monitors for the four special education bus routes. Currently, there are four full-time monitors with two full-time positions open, he says.
Monitors are similar to para-pros. They assist special needs students. Monitors ride the buses and assist the students with their wheelchairs, special harnesses and other special needs. Generally, there is one monitor on each bus.
“Special education busses run door-to-door,” Boham says.
Although it takes a special person to drive a school bus or be a bus monitor, the rewards are worth it, Boham says. “You are making a difference in the lives of children.”
If you would like more information about either the bus driver or bus monitor openings, call Boham at 734-433-2274.