District Desperately Seeks Bus Drivers

Washoe County School Bus. Image: Carla O'Day.
Washoe County School Bus. Image: Carla O’Day.

Washoe County School District (WCSD) has a critical shortage of school bus drivers, which could soon affect the more than 20,000 students who ride school buses daily. The unemployment rate is low in the Reno-Sparks area, at 3.2 percent, and there is fierce competition for qualified employees. The district is seeking qualified people in the community to apply for school bus driver positions.

WCSD is short 50-55 drivers on a daily basis. The district works to provide full service to students each day using solutions such as transportation staff not assigned as drivers and combined bus runs. WCSD is concerned about the potential impact the bus driver shortage may have on students, families, and schools in the near future if more hires cannot be made soon.

“School bus drivers are an important part of a student’s day. The driver is the first and last staff member a student sees,” said Rick Martin, WCSD director of transportation. “Our drivers play a valuable role in supporting of our students in their educational journey.”

WCSD is recruiting school bus drivers on an ongoing basis. The drivers work 6.5 hours per day and are eligible for benefits that include health, dental, and vision insurance; paid time off; retirement; and more.

Drivers also have all 11 school holidays and school breaks off, working 180 days per year. The position is a split shift that covers morning- and after-school bus runs, although there are opportunities for people seeking part-time employment to cover one shift, either the morning or afternoon shift.

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The WCSD Transportation Department also offers a paid training program for employees that do not yet have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and will pay for the driver’s test. This is a three- to four week process with employees working a full-day and receiving compensation during this training.

WCSD is hosting an information session on Thursday, March 14 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1150 Matley Lane in the Truckee Lab. There will be representatives from WCSD available to answer questions and provide information. Interested participants will have the opportunity to interview for a driver position at the session.

Emily Ellison, chief of human resources for WCSD, encourages interested people to attend this session or call the district’s at 775-789-4602 to get more information or apply to be a school bus driver.

“We would love to have anyone who is even thinking that this might be a fit for them come out so that we can help support them,” Ellison said.

SOURCE: Washoe County School District

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