When Spring ISD voters approved a $330 million bond referendum in November 2016, they sanctioned the purchase of 60 new buses, and now the district must hire 60 more drivers to operate the vehicles before the start of the next school year.
“We need to start recruiting and hiring now so that we can address training needs,” SISD Transportation Director Keith Kaup said.
Kaup said it will be challenging to fill 60 positions, but by starting the hiring process early the district will be ready for the 2017-18 school year.
The new buses are the result of the district’s expanded busing area. Previously, students who lived 1.5 miles or more from their school buildings were bused. The expanded routes will shrink that radius and extend service to an additional 5,000 students who live at least 1 mile from their schools.
The district employs 221 bus drivers currently. The positions are part time and carry benefits, and the salaries start at $15.12 per hour, Kaup said.
Although the bond referendum provides $6 million to purchase the buses, continuing maintenance and the salaries of the drivers will become part of the district’s maintenance and operations budget.
Depending on the individual trainee and the availability of testing, the training process can take three weeks to 90 days, Kaup said. Department of Public Safety tests are administrated at only four locations in the Greater Houston area.
The new bus routes must be launched at once. Introducing them gradually means restructuring multiple routes each time a new one is introduced, SISD Chief Operations Officer Mark Miranda said.
Kaup said the most important factor prospective bus drivers must consider when applying for the jobs is the role they will play in the safety of students. Additionally, bus drivers can affect a student’s day-to-day performance.
“The school bus driver must understand the impact that they have on their students, that they set the tone for the student’s day, and they have the ability to really influence how that child is going to succeed in their education,” he said.
In February, the district will launch its recruitment campaign, including a transportation job fair from 9 a.m.-noon on Feb. 23 at the transportation center at 341 East Richey Road, Houston.
Applicants can visit www.springisd.net to get more information.