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Hamilton Southeastern Schools launches hiring blitz for bus drivers

Hamilton Southeastern Schools need more bus drivers

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — The school year may be over in the Hamilton Southeastern Schools district, but the need for school bus drivers will continue throughout the summer.

The Hamilton County district has nine openings, and there are not enough applicants to fill the positions.

Zack McKinney, director of transportation for the schools, said there’s not at a shortage yet but it could get there if the positions aren’t filled by the start of the 2024-2025 school year. “At that point in time, it’s all hands on deck. I myself carry my CDL (commercial driver’s license), and I drive a bus from time to time. Obviously, our goal is to safely, and on time and an efficient manner, and that’s what we will continue to do as a team.”

Driver pay starts at $111 a day, and drivers who work at least 4½ hours a day are eligible for full benefits plus a chance to buy into the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund.

Tracy Marsh retired after a 30-year career in law enforcement. Later, he took a driving job with Hamilton Southeastern Schools for the extra cash. “For my wife and I, after my retirement, the insurance prices were very high, the COBRA (Continuation of Health Coverage).”

McKinney said, “You are the first smiling face and the last smiling face representation for our school district. Typically, the bus driver knows more about the families and what’s going on than usually the school does because they have more interaction day to day with the student on the bus and the parents at the bus stops.”

Marsh drives a route that has students with special needs, and, after just a couple months on the job, he’s gotten to know his passengers. “With only three to five kids per bus, I’ve really gotten to know them and it’s kind of become like a little family.”

Hamilton Southeastern Schools will pay for drivers’ training, which takes from six to eight weeks to complete, which is why the district wants to get a head start on the hiring process.

Plus, buses are not built like they used to be. They’re equipped with an array of cameras and mirrors, which makes them easier to navigate in and out of tight spots.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools’ district headquarters at 13485 Cumberland Road will host a bus driver job fair from 4-6 p.m. Thursday.