We Love Our Bus Drivers

Megan Dean, Reporter

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Clovis Unified School District celebrates its school bus drivers the fourth Tuesday of every April. This year it honored the drivers on April 25. While the district currently has a sufficient number of permanent drivers, it is currently looking to expand its pool of substitute drivers.

But what goes into transportation in Clovis Unified?

In total, CUSD currently has 114 permanent drivers with a fluctuating number of substitute drivers and though there is not a shortage of bus drivers in the district, according to Clovis Unified’s Director of Transportation Sheryl Boe, there is always a need for drivers. She said that ideally, the district would benefit by having 22-23 substitute drivers.

However, if considering becoming the newest member of the district’s transportation team, one must also consider the process of becoming a driver.

“It is very cumbersome,” said Boe.

Becoming a California school bus driver involves a taxing process consisting of attending a School Bus Driver class for 20 hours minimum of in class instruction, an interview with the School Bus Safety Officer for California Highway Patrol, a 40 question Rules and Regulations assessment, a 40 question First Aid assessment, obtaining a Class B-P-S Instruction Permit, a drug screen test, a physical, getting fingerprints, spending 20 hours in behind-the-wheel training,  and finally, a CHP drive test which, when passed, gives them a Temporary California Special Driver Certificate.

Currently, the district has about 22 candidates enrolled in the School Bus Driver class.

“There are a lot of great candidates out there.  It’s just a hard process,” said Boe.

With such a busy school district, the need for bus drivers is obvious. From home to school routes, sports, band, field trips, and more, Boe said the number of trips can be challenging with scheduling. However, when schedules conflict, home to school routes or school to home routes always take first priority. Often this means that Transportation may have to ask athletics or band or any other group to be flexible and adjust their schedules.

Transition sentence of some kind, yeah?

CUSD’s Transportation department competes against other drivers in what is called a School Bus Roadeo. In a roadeo, drivers compete in a sort of obstacle course with 5 challenging events. According to the California Association of Transportation Officials website, “The main focus of a School Bus Roadeo is SAFETY. The more training and practice a driver has the safer he or she will be.”

From persevering through the difficult process of becoming a driver, managing often hectic schedules, and doing the behind the scenes fun such as roadeos, there is no doubt our district’s drivers deserve appreciation. But what else would you expect from the hard working transportation department?

In the words of Boe, “Our drivers are amazing!”

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We Love Our Bus Drivers