Wanted: School bus drivers for Tuscaloosa City Schools

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa City Schools district is facing an unusual situation with its shortage of school bus drivers. The school system has more vacancies than usual for this time of year.

The city school district typically has around seven openings for school bus drivers about this time every year. Right now there are 15 vacancies.

Sherida Keller took a major step forward in landing a new job, one that requires steady patience with children and the ability to handle a 36,000 pound school bus when its full.

“I love to drive. I don’t mind getting up and driving at all,” said Keller.

These are the very people Tuscaloosa City Schools district leaders appreciate and welcome. At the jobs fair at Central High School, the transportation director told us driver vacancies have increased.

“This year a little higher, more retirees than normal,” said Tuscaloosa City Public School Transportation Director Ron Schappacher.

Drivers can make up to $21 an hour with a $1,000 signing bonus and full benefits. There’s a bit of training involved including earning a CDL license.

“We do local training and we also reimburse and all the expenses in obtaining that CDL,” said Schappacher.

Keller believes she’s ready for the challenge knowing it’s a huge responsibility.

“They’re one of the first faces they’ll see in the morning. I feel like they’ll be excited so, and I’m exited to see their faces and kind of prep them up for the day,” Keller said.

Should there not be enough qualified applicants for the job, there’s a plan to handle that.

“What we’ve done in the past.. all of us drive.. I’ve got 5 mechanics,” said Schappacher.

Sherida Keller applied and now the process begins; study for the learner’s permit and the CDL license followed by background checks. Keller’s ready to roll with a new career.

Each school bus driver will drive anywhere from one to two routes per day and carry anywhere from 20 to 40 school children to and from school.

Click here to apply.