JCPS holds job fair to address shortage of bus drivers, other po - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS holds job fair to address shortage of bus drivers, other positions

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Public School District held a job fair Thursday in an effort to fill several open positions, particularly a critical shortage of bus drivers.

Driving a school bus is an increasingly tough job because of a skyrocketing problem with bad student behavior.

There were 17,662 bus discipline issues written up last year. That's compared to 6,571 in 2014-15.

With a number of drivers either quitting or retiring, JCPS is scrambling to make sure all its more than 900 daily routes are filled.

And a steady stream of applicants signed up during the JCPS job fair.

”Right now, we've had more people here today than we've had in probably two job fairs,” said JCPS transportation director Rick Caple.

There are openings for everything from lunch workers to teachers, but Caple says the critical focus is filling 75 bus driver slots.

“I think anytime there's negativity about discipline on buses, it hurts recruiting,” he said.

Chasity Clarkson and Cybil Baker are both unemployed. They know unruly students can be challenging, but $16.58-an-hour plus benefits is attractive

“It's a tough job, but I like kids," Clarkson said. "It's got great pay and great benefits. So, I think it's something I could probably retire from."

“I have 6-year-old grandson that's tough, that's hyper. So, I think I'm ready,” Baker said.

Driver and trainer Sydney Lovelace says he's looking for people with the right attitude.

“Someone that's friendly, and someone who can deal with a certain level of confrontation,” he said.

JCPS is working to revamp its code of conduct. It also wants to boost driver pay and is looking at staggering school start and dismissal times so fewer drivers can drive more routes and work more hours.

“If we do all that, we hope we help retention. We hope we can take some buses off the road, and we won't need as many drivers,” Caple said.

Clarkson hopes to be called back for an interview. She is anxious to become one of the new drivers behind the wheel this fall.

“I'm ready to take it on,” she laughed.

JCPS hopes to have the changes in place by August, when Caple himself retires as transportation chief.

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