Albemarle County Public Schools hold training for incoming bus drivers

Albemarle County Public Schools is en route to fixing its shortage of bus drivers.
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools is en route to fixing its shortage of bus drivers.

ACPS has been struggling with this problems for years, and is now holding training sessions for anyone who wants to become a driver. Current and previous drivers will tell you it’s worth it.

“It’s got nothing to do with the money, I would got to say it’s the babies,” ACPS bus driver Catherine Gonzalez said “They come from all different situations, and once you get to know all of your kids, it’s amazing.”

Catherine Gonzalez has been a driver for three years. Her students, or “babies,” as she calls them, are what keep her coming back.

“They are going to be a part of the educational process of our children,” ACPS Deputy Director of Transportation Charmane White said. “This is a beautiful opportunity to give back to the community.”

Safety is the single most important part of the job. This is emphasized in these driving sessions and classes.

“You get to meet our youngsters and start out with them, and in some cases you’re going to start out with them in their elementary years,” White said. “And so, when they step on that bus, to see you for the first time, they are depending upon you to get them there safely.”

In these ACPS training sessions, the drivers are now able to get their permit. Drivers still go to a week of class, then they do a week of actual driving.

“They also get paid for the time of their training,” Training Specialist Jennifer Green said.

People who go through these training sessions receive $15 an hour, as well as full-time employee benefits.

This training process also eases the stress of the other drivers. Albemarle is currently only seven drivers short, and next week they have 6 more coming for training.

“You could tell last year a big difference with not having so many bus drivers, a shortage, having to do double backs,” Gonzalez said. So, having more people come on board, I would say that’s a great thing.”

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