School District Hits Road Block Attracting Bus Drivers
Omaha, NE - Warren Scheer started his second shift of the day Monday afternoon. He made his way down country roads taking dozens of kids home from Arlington schools. It's something he's done for the last 14-years. Scheer says, "I needed a part time job and I like kids. I like to drive." And boy does he drive, about 100-miles a day. But it's getting harder for Arlington to find drivers.
The district's superintendent is at a loss when it comes to filling those positions. Superintendent Lynn Johnson says, "I don't think it's just an Arlington problem frankly. When I visit with my colleagues across the state, it's a problem for many school districts." Johnson says two recent candidates couldn't pass a mandatory health screening. Drivers also need to pass a background check and keep a special license and perhaps the biggest drawback, the ability to work a split shift.
A school bus driver in Arlington makes about fifty-six dollars a day and the district is willing to up the pay but doubts that would solve the problem. Already the district phased two routes together and is looking at doing that again. They might have to use other staff members to drive vans and as a last resort, contract drivers from Omaha, an expensive route to take. So the district is hoping and waiting they wont hit a dead end. Johnson says, "I don't see the demographics changing to create a lot more interest so I think it's a problem that we're going to continue to experience."