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Photo courtesy of Marietta Town Schools Charlie Brown checks his rearview mirror before hitting the road Monday on a Marietta Town schools bus.

About 71 percent of students at Marietta City School take the bus.

That’s 1,650 students greeted each morning and dropped off each afternoon by the smiling faces of drivers traveling 1,350 miles each day to keep Tigers in school, ready to learn and grow.

But the team of 16 drivers need their support behind the scenes, ready to step in.

“If I had five submarines, we would be in great shape”, Darrell Prim, director of transportation and facilities, said as he planned the school district’s next recruiting event.

Local residents are invited to get behind the wheel of a bus and try it out for themselves at 11 a.m. on November 6.

“We’re going to take our buses to the high school parking lot and put people in the seats, let them drive and see what it is. “ said Prim. “When I talk to people about replacing, some people say, ‘I can’t drive this big vehicle’. But let them try.

Hoping to spark interest during the nation’s driver shortage, the Marietta City Schools Education Council recently increased the per diem rate for replacement drivers to $ 16 per hour, from $ 12 per hour. time.

Individuals approved to replace the uncertified position may also take on helper, attendant, custodial, maintenance and secretarial roles as needed for a rate of $ 12 per hour, also increased by the board compared. at the previous $ 10 an hour. Alternate staff can work up to 29 hours per week.

To remove barriers to employment, Marietta City Schools is also expanding the offer to reimburse the cost of required background checks and cover the cost of training successful applicants.

What drives you?

For Mark Stewart, driving Tigers from their early days in school until they graduate from Marietta High School and Washington County Career Center is worth the early mornings.

“This is the best job you will ever have” said the veteran pilot and flight instructor.

“You could be the first face they see in the morning, you could be the happiest face they see in the morning” said Vonda Brown.

On the 22 bus, Helen Miller likes to know how her students’ days went.

“And now I get children who are the children of the children I had when I started driving the bus,” the 26-year-old veteran said. “Yet they tell me about the things they do or accomplish, or what they did the day before with their parents. This is the best, they share things that are going on in their life.

Every driver brings a dedication to the safety of their students on the job every day and with the opportunity on November 6 to get behind the wheel, others can get a taste of that joy.

This hands-on experience then moves easily to the next steps, with successful applicants able to get behind the wheel with students by the end of 2021.

Next steps

¯ Pass an FBI / BCI background check through the Ohio Valley Educational Resource Center (1338 Colegate Drive, Marietta).

Take a drug test.

¯ Earn a Class B Commercial Driver’s License with Bus Driver Approval (from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles).

¯ Complete the Ohio School Bus Driver Training Course Nov 15-18 (at the Washington County Career Center).

¯ Complete individual support with the instructors on board Marietta City Schools.

¯ Pass the school bus driving assessment and the school bus inspection assessment (instead of the Gnadenhutten exam).

This 15 hour course at the Career Center is commissioned by the Ohio Department of Education and then they work personally here with our onboard instructors preparing them for CDL Class B bus driver approval. “, said Prim.

Lunch will be offered to participants of the November 6 event in the parking lot of Academy Drive at Marietta High School.

If you are going to:

Who: All adults in Washington County with at least two years of driving experience.

What: Get behind the wheel; Recruitment day for bus drivers in schools in the city of Marietta.

When: November 6, 11 am-1pm

Where: Parking lot at Marietta High School Academy Drive (from Colegate Drive above Goodwill).

Why: Keep our students in school, learn and grow with their peers.

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