Cassville schools looking for substitute bus drivers

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reid: 'It's a unique opportunity for people who are available at those times'

Due to ongoing school events and functions, and unique circumstances when regular bus drivers need a temporary replacement, the Cassville school district is looking for area residents to take the wheel of the big yellow bus to get students safely to and from where they need to go.

The district has plenty of drivers, but when one must be out, such as for health reasons or vacation time, or an event is scheduled during their shift, it creates an opportunity for a sub-driver to take the wheel so that a route or trip can be covered.

"We have not had much driver turnover," said Richard Asbill, superintendent for the district. "We had a couple of drivers retire over the past few years, but have replaced them with our back-up drivers. Then we try to recruit more sub-drivers to get our driver needs met. We have 20 regular route drivers, and like all of us, they can get sick, so when you have a driver out, you need a sub. We take a lot of trips: athletic trips, field trips, and other events, so having as many drivers and sub-drivers as possible always helps us fill the request we get for trips. If a sub or driver was scheduled to take another trip that day, then you need two subs."

"The [trips] add up fairly quickly, said Dusty Reid, director of facilities and operations. "If a driver is out for a week for health reasons, that's an a.m. and p.m. shift, or two routes that need covered, and if there's a baseball game and track meet that day, there's another need for a driver."

Over the 2015-2016 school year, Reid said the district has scheduled 681 sub-bus drivers to cover routes or school events, and event and activity trips average out to about 500 trips during the last school year, he said.

"That includes trips for things like band, speech and debate, softball, baseball and field trips," he said.

This year, the district has about 20 trips left to take.

Asbill said driving a school bus offers a good opportunity for someone looking for part-time work in the morning and afternoon, and several routes are available.

"We have a variety of routes that cover all portions of Barry County, from Butterfield, Jenkins, Eagle Rock, Golden, Cassville, and our Cassville rural areas," he said. "A sub-driver can pick up a little extra money each month with subbing for us. We are very competitive with our pay, and give our drivers credit for years of service each year they drive a bus for us."

"It's a unique opportunity for people who are available at those times," Reid said.

In the past, Asbill has served as a volunteer sub-driver, and said it helped him get to know students better.

"I used to drive all the time as a sub-driver," Asbill said. "I enjoyed bus driving. It was a great way for me to meet lots of students, see where they live and make a personal connection with them. I have not driven in a long time and since we could use the extra help, I thought why not, it's the least I can do to help out our transportation program and the various groups that need to take trips."

Reid said he would be also willing to help as a driver, if needed.

"It's something I thought would be fun, such as getting to drive my son on a field trip," he said.

"It wouldn't be every day or even every month, but a worst-case-scenario where we have a busy day with a lot of activity trips, because the other option is to tell a group they have to reschedule."

To drive a school bus, one must either already have, or be willing to obtain, a bus driving permit. To apply, people may call the Cassville school district at 417-847-2221.

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