Radio Ad Helps FCPS Hire Some Additional School Bus Drivers

School System says some could be ready soon to work some school bus routes.

Frederick, Md (KM) There’s been a lot of bad news recently about the shortage of school  bus drivers in Frederick County and in other school systems around the country. But earlier this week, the Board of Education received some good news “We currently have eight additional drivers who have received their permits and they are in the driver training portion where they’re doing the   behind the wheel,” says Paul Lebo, Chief Operating Officer for Frederick County Public Schools.

He says these eight drivers could be ready to begin operating a school bus very soon. “The reason that is important is because after they’ve  reached  their mandatory hours of testing, they’re eligible for testing on the CDL course. Once they pass that, they can have  their license and they’re eligible for a route,” says Lebo. “And so that testing will continue through this week  and through December the eighth.”

A CDL is a Commercial Driver’s License issued by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration which lets its holders operate school buses and large trucks.

There has not been enough school bus drivers to handle all the routes in Frederick County this year, which has frustrated parents who want their children to get to school on time. In some instances, Lebo, who has a CDL, has driven a school bus.

“We have ten drivers who have attended classroom training, and are waiting to receive their CDL permits,”  he says.

Lebo credits this good news to the School System’s Transportation Department, which has done recruiting efforts, including a job fair last month at Crestwood Middle School. In addition, he says the school bus driver’s position  was reclassified, and  that brought up the starting salary to $20 per hour or more, along with benefits.

Lebo also says a radio advertising campaign helped bring in more people interested in being school bus drivers. “We did all the local radio stations. And we have seen a significant increase in the number of applications since that radio ad went out on November the third,” he says.

By Kevin McManus