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What it takes to be a school bus driver and the district ready to train you

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted: 5:30 AM, Jan 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-28 10:09:17-05
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Hiring Hoosiers is a new initiative from RTV6 that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit HiringHoosiers.com.

INDIANAPOLIS — The sign is hard to miss along State Road 135 and Meridian School Road, outside of Perry Township Schools. A sign plastered on the side of a school bus on the side of the road read "Now Hiring."

The district is in need of bus drivers and the transportation department is ready to train aspiring drivers.

Don Thie has been driving for Perry Township Schools for about a year now. He says his day starts off around 6 o'clock in the morning when he heads to his bus.

He eventually heads out on the roads to start picking up rounds of students, hoping to start their day on a good note.

"I usually give them a a good greeting of a hello and good morning," Thie said.

He says the younger students are usually up for a morning greeting, and many older students are still half asleep. But regardless, his role is to get them to class safely, maintain order on the bus and be a smiling face to start and end their day.

"The challenges, well there are a few challenges," Thie said. "You have to maintain discipline on the bus. Safety for the kids is always the number one issue."

"Well, you got to remember that drivers are the first people to see the children in the morning and the last to see them at night," Perry Township Transportation Director Pat Murphey said. "So drivers affect children in an unbelievable way."

Thie finishes up his morning routes around 9:15 a.m. and heads home to work on personal business. His bus driving duties pick back up in the afternoon as he gears up for the after school drop-offs. He heads back to the bus around 1:15 in the afternoon and completes his job typically by 5:15p.m.

Murphey tells us they are looking to train drivers and give them all the tools they need for success on the roads, but there are a few stipulations that must first be met.

"So what it takes to become a bus driver, we need start with a good driving record," Murphey said. "We require 7 years of driving history, a clean record, you need to be able to pass a background check."

Drivers need to take Commercial Drivers License test at the BMV before becoming a school bus driver. Perry Township will train their prospective drivers at their facility for anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, however long it takes the individual to learn the ropes.

"Because of the training, it's pretty easy to pick up," Thie said. "Here at Perry Township, they will walk you through those steps."

In Perry Township, contracted drivers start at $17.89 per hour. That includes full benefits and personal days.

Pay for the contracted drivers can go up as high as $28.00 per hour and drivers typically work 35 to 40 hours each week during the school year.

The district wants drivers to commit to the 180 day school year. But for drivers wanting additional money, there are summer school opportunities available as well.

There are also chances to get more hours during the year through field trips and sports.

For more information on how to take part in this training and apply for a job with Perry Township Schools, call 317-789-6225 or visit perryschools.org

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