St. Charles Parish Public Schools is searching for substitute drivers to help them keep 131 buses running that transport over 8,500 students to and from school every day.
The school system recently held an open house for potential substitute bus driver candidates, but for those who were unable to attend the school system is still accepting applications.
Substitute drivers receive an hourly wage of $17.84 and work an estimated 4.5 hours a day when needed. The requirements for the position include a CDL, three years safe driving record and satisfactory completion of a physical examination. The daily hours vary between 6:30 to 8:45 a.m. in the morning and 2 p.m. and until all children are dropped off in the afternoon.
Patrick O’Malley, the school’s administrator of ancillary services, said becoming a substitute bus driver presents a good opportunity for a variety of candidates.
“It’s really intended to be a transitional position, either transitioning to fulltime bus driver or an in between careers kind of position,” he said, “A lot of times we may get retirees from plants in the area. They are steeped in safety with time on their hands. They are used to getting up very early in the morning and those are all good characteristics.”
Those interested in becoming a substitute bus driver must have a CDL before they can be considered for a position. For those who do not have a CDL, O’Malley suggests going to the Office of Motor Vehicles to find out the requirements and to take the CDL test. Candidates who already have CDLs and are chosen as substitute bus drivers go through training provided by the school to receive passenger and bus endorsements as well as training in dealing with children.
O’Malley said one of the biggest upsides to becoming a substitute driver is that it allows a lot of flexibility.
“Obviously the more you are available, the more frequently you’ll be called, but if you are only available the third Wednesday of ever other month we may be able to use you that one day,” he said.
However, O’Malley said applicants must remember that the job is really about the kids.
“In a lot of ways for most of our drivers, it is somewhat of a calling, it’s a passion. You have to love it, you can’t do it just for the money. You have to have love it and enjoy it,” he said.
There are a large number of openings available for interested candidates.
“We can certainly use them and it may take a little while to get started, but the sooner you start the process the sooner we’ll have you driving a bus,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said becoming a substitute bus driver is in particular a good way for candidates to get their foot in the door to become fulltime drivers.
“It is not uncommon that our substitutes roll into the fulltime vacancies, but by that time they are kind of tried and true and have great record and they know what they are getting into,” he said.
Fulltime drivers receive all benefits provided to other school system employees including health insurance and retirement.
Those interested in becoming substitute bus drivers can apply online at http://www.stcharles.k12.la.us/jobs.cfm.