Pinellas seeking new school bus drivers

Applicants for a bus driver position with the Pinellas County School District must have a five-year verifiable driving history as well as a high school diploma, GED or college transcripts from an accredited school. Those applying must be able to pass a state Department of Transportation physical and a drug test, and complete the FBI fingerprinting process and background screenings before being admitted to the class. The job pays $13.13 an hour.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2006)

Applicants for a bus driver position with the Pinellas County School District must have a five-year verifiable driving history as well as a high school diploma, GED or college transcripts from an accredited school. Those applying must be able to pass a state Department of Transportation physical and a drug test, and complete the FBI fingerprinting process and background screenings before being admitted to the class. The job pays $13.13 an hour.

If you're calm under pressure, like to work independently and get along with kids, the Pinellas County School District needs bus drivers.

The district's transportation department has 35 openings to drive around elementary, middle and high school students. The deadline to apply is Monday, and training for the second session of 2014 begins Feb. 24.

The school district has had an ongoing bus driver shortage for about five years, said Sonya Roundtree, chapter chair of Pinellas County school bus drivers union. But school district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said the district routinely has training classes year-round to fill open spots.

"There might be bus drivers that retire or move on to different jobs," Parra said. "There are ongoing classes to make sure that we are bringing in new drivers."

Those interested can complete an online application at pcsb.org. Applicants must have a five-year verifiable driving history as well as a high school diploma, GED or college transcripts from an accredited school. Those applying must be able to pass a state Department of Transportation physical and a drug test, and complete the FBI fingerprinting process and background screenings before being admitted to the class.

The job pays $13.13 an hour and routes are assigned based on seniority and geographic location. Most drivers begin work as early as 5:30 a.m. and have time off until the afternoon pick-up rounds. Drivers are guaranteed to work six hours a day and can gain additional hours driving to field trips or after-school events.

Parra said the department is looking for drivers who enjoy working with children of all ages and from diverse backgrounds, possess good decision-making skills, stay calm under pressure, and can work somewhat independently.

Training is four weeks long, surpassing the state's requirement of 20 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training. Applicants are paid while they participate.

If an applicant passes all the written tests in the classroom setting, he or she moves on to the behind-the-wheels skills test to earn a commercial driver license with Passenger and School Bus endorsement.

So far, 517 drivers staff 479 routes busing elementary, middle and high school kids.

Anyone interested can contact JoAnn Johnson at (727) 547-7100 and fax all supporting materials to (727) 547-7244.

Colleen Wright can be reached at cwright@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8313. You can follow her on Twitter @Colleen_Wright.

Pinellas seeking new school bus drivers 01/30/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 2:25pm]

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