MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – As the schools are heading back into session, transportation to and from school can be a large concern. The first day of school is right around the corner and one section of the education team that might be overlooked is transportation. Some UP districts have commented that they’re fully staffed with bus drivers. “Both districts right now, we’re fully staffed,” commented Jay Kulbertis, Rapid River & Gladstone Superintendent.
Other schools explained that finding drivers within the area can be difficult with scheduling and wages, but that finding substitute drivers can be a different piece of supplies on the list.
Escanaba Superintendent Coby Fletcher said that a while back Escanaba took a new, competitive approach to fill the position. “Probably four years ago, three, four years ago we really stopped and took a look at how we structured our bus driver wages and benefits, we made the conscious decision that we just had to be more competitive,” commented Fletcher.
“Lot of the districts if you are interested in being a bus driver you can literally almost contact any district right now because if they don’t have an opening, they need subs,” Delta Schoolcraft Superintendent Doug Leisenring. Schools can be reliant on the surrounding community to fill these subbing positions, but some commented that there could be some misinformation about the roles they need to fill.
“Some people have the misknow that they have to spend the entire week here subbing if that’s what they sign up for when in reality we just need them for an afternoon or a morning,” commented Bark River-Harris Superintendent Jeremy Pach.
“Bus driving obviously is one of those where because it takes that special certification we really have to do a great deal of recruiting going out trying to find people that are interested,” continued Kulbertis. Substitute drivers are typically driving for athletic team games, classroom field trips, and any other extracurricular events, that take dedicated community members.
“There was a pretty good number of people waiting to get a job in the schools and now there just seems to be that everyone is hiring everywhere so there’s that competition for quality employees,” Jay Kulbertis, Rapid River & Gladstone Superintendent.
Districts are encouraging anyone who has an interest to contact them about substitution positions.