IDA GROVE, Iowa (KCAU) — Many rural schools continue to see a shortage of bus drivers. So, some faculty are taking it upon themselves to get kids from school to home.
At the Odebolt-Arthur-Battle Creek-Ida Grove (OABCIG) Community School District, the Superintendent and P.E. teacher are getting behind the wheel of a school bus to help transport students.
“When I came to the district, they said that they had a need for a driver and I like driving, so it was pretty easy. I said I could drive,” said Jeff Miesner, OABCIG High School P.E. teacher and bus driver.
“A couple years into being here in the district we really had a need for drivers, so I stepped in and got my certification and just kinda helped out where I could,” said Matt Alexander, the superintendent for OABCIG Community School District and substitute bus driver.
To balance both the jobs of a superintendent/teacher and bus driver, sometimes it all comes down to working around timetables.
“Some of the challenges are just working with scheduling and making sure that it doesn’t conflict with my teaching schedules, so it’s been nice up here at the high school, we’ve been able to rearrange my schedule so there are no conflicts,” said Miesner.
“If I’m needed elsewhere, I’m not driving and that’s worked out really well. They understand that if I can’t drive, I can’t drive, but I just want to have that ability to be able to help out when I can. And that’s worked out pretty well for the district,” said Alexander.
To be a bus driver, you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and requires a school bus and a passenger endorsement as well. It can take from three weeks to six months to get a CDL. To find people to become bus drivers, OABCIG turned towards their community for help.
“Boots on the ground. We go out and we talk to community members and those that we know may have their CDL or be willing to get their CDL, see if they’d be interested in helping us out. Maybe with a morning route, or an afternoon route, or a preschool shuttle, or whatever it may be,” said Alexander.
Alexander said they have enough bus drivers to cover all routes. However, the OABCIG Community School District is in need of substitute bus drivers.