Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is hiring 50 school bus drivers for the 2018-2019 school year. This number of openings is common during summertime due to retirements or individuals moving out of the area.
“I absolutely love my job,” said Gillian Duffy, mother of four children who is starting her 13th year as a school bus driver. Duffy also was the 2018 winner of the school division’s School Bus Road-e-o, an annual event that tests school bus driver skills and builds camaraderie amongst the transportation team.
The job offers flexibility and the school division’s full benefits to drivers who work five hours or more. Another perk is that drivers can bring their children, ages 1 and older on the school bus.
“I started driving a bus because I needed a job and I could take my kids with me and didn’t have to pay daycare or babysitters,” Duffy added. “Once they were a year old, I could take them on the bus with me and I could still be mom, work a job and contribute to our household.”
Retired Navy man Mike Marino is another good example. He has been driving with VBCPS for 12 years.
“It’s a great job for retirees,” he said. “I wanted to stay active, keep my mind fresh and the kids absolutely do that. They look up to you if you treat them with respect and that’s very rewarding. I love my job – I truly do.”
He also added that he is able to complete his morning route by 9 a.m., have a break in the middle of the day to take care of errands or appointments and then work in the afternoon typically from 2-4:30 p.m. However, he chooses to take school activity routes, which has him concluding his day by 6 or 6:30 p.m.
“Not to mention that I get summers off to enjoy my time, just relax and start again in September,” Marino added.
“It’s a good job for the right person,” said David Pace, who has been the division’s director of Transportation Services for more than 40 years. He added that historically all routes have been filled by the start of the school year.
The school division provides training with three classes scheduled for July and two in August.
“Our training class teaches you everything about a school bus – the rules, regulation and polices,” said Transportation Area Supervisor Cris Sprouse, who coordinates the classes. “I’m confident in our program. We do a good job.”
The school division’s transportation team will also provide behind-the-wheel instruction and guide trainees through the process of obtaining a commercial driver’s license, taking the school bus driver test and going through the necessary background checks. The entire process from start to finish takes about a month, according to Sprouse.
“To have individuals ready for September, we need to have them in the first training in August,” said Transportation Area Supervisor Cris Sprouse who coordinates the classes.
Individuals interested in joining the school division’s transportation team, should contact Sprouse at 757-263-1545 (extension 1), by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the employment page of vbschools.com.
“When you have tremendous support from the supervisors like I do and the other drivers have within the organization, that makes you want to come to work,” Marino remarked. “It’s the trickle-down effect. They want you. It’s an open door policy. They’re never too busy to answer your questions or give you guidance. They tell us exactly what’s expected from us and from the School Board and we carry out those expectations protecting that precious cargo that we carry every day. I enjoy my job immensely.”