Bus Drivers Still Needed as School Year Approaches

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Bus drivers are still needed for the new school year for Des Moines schools.

Lead Driver, Michelle Tigner said no one has been trained all summer to be a bus driver.

According to the Director of Transportation at Des Moines Schools, Todd Liston, the last few years the numbers have been low drivers.

“We require super clean people. Clean backgrounds, great driving records. Just nothing questionable at anybody’s background. Those other type of candidates that we need to work with our kids. Same with the new custodians, same with a new teacher. We need just great individuals from our community to work with our kids,” Liston said.

Bus drivers for the first few years are strictly part-time, and make $19.24 an hour. Drivers also get paid holidays, a few paid sick days and a retirement plan.

Liston said the schools have enough drivers for the start of the year, but as the year progresses it gets more difficult.

There are times through the year when we are really struggling to cover everything we do. It’s honestly because of some of the extra stuff. An extra field trip, athletic teams  or something like that, that takes the driver out of the mix. And we have had to shuffle some routes around and change schedules just a bit just to cover all of the stuff we are asked to do day in and day out,” Liston said.

Tigner started 26 years ago and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon and said, “It’s something that I really truly enjoy.”

"It takes a special person to be able to go out and not only drive a big vehicle around town, but work with a bunch of kids day in and day out. We found the folks that can do that, the folks that enjoy working with kids, like being outside they really love this job,” Liston said.

About 11,000 students use the bus service during the school year.