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Urgent Route Driver shortage signals call on community for help

Already short on bus route drivers, Clarke Community Schools is looking to district family members and the community for help.

With last school year’s shortage of qualified drivers rolling into the 2018/19 school year, staff and administrators worked diligently to cover or combine yellow bus routes to make sure the children in the Clarke Community School district had safe, timely access to and from school. Administrators knew the efforts being made wouldn’t fully make up for the shortage. One absence or the loss of another full-time route driver or event driver would mean taking drastic measures to make sure children had a way to and from school and events. With two route driver positions currently empty and another expected to drop due to medical leave, the district is once again looking to the community for help.

“We know driver shortages are a national issue,” said Steve Seid, Clarke Community Schools Superintendent. “But we’ve seen the Clarke family come together to help the kids in situations like this before. All it takes is one or two committed community members to answer the call to help our kids.”

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Immediate needs would be for at least two yellow bus route drivers. These drivers would drive the large yellow buses through the Clarke district for pick-up and drop-off of the students on a daily basis. They would also have opportunities to drive the kids for extracurricular events like sports, band and field trips.

The yellow bus route drivers contracted for the 2018/19 school year are paid $82.00/day - driving, on average, 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon. With special events and other transportation needs, a flexible schedule would be an advantage for applicants. Staff route drivers are provided 2 personal days off per year as well as the ability to accumulate sick days. As a Clarke School District employee, contracted drivers are also able to take advantage of the school’s IPERS retirement investment opportunities.

“Drivers could be retirees or community members looking to make some extra money,” said Rick Perin, Transportation Manager for Clarke Community Schools. “Being bilingual would be a benefit for the kids, but not a requirement.”

The shortage of qualified drivers, while not isolated to Clarke’s district has become a priority for all school districts. This impacts not only the schedules and efficiency of the transportation department, but also the safety and security of the kids. Vacancies in the transportation department often require pulling teachers from classes or coaches to fill in on routes or special events or even staggering scheduling for start and end times for students which passes the inconvenience on to home schedules and extracurricular activities.

If you or someone you know would like to apply for the driver positions available at Clarke Community Schools, you can pick up a hard-copy application in the main district office at 420 E Jefferson St, Osceola, IA 50213. An online application can be submitted through www.TeachIowa.gov

If you have questions concerning the position or the district transportation needs, please contact the Clarke Community School District main office at 420 E Jefferson St, Osceola, IA 50213, or call (641) 342-6320.

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