At least two school districts in White County are taking steps to help recruit specific employees that have lately been hard to find: substitute bus drivers and substitute teachers.

At this month’s Pangburn School Board meeting, transportation director David McKee addressed the board on a proposal to help with hiring and maintaining bus drivers. He said after looking at what some other districts were doing, “we looked at it from a bonus standpoint, but that wasn’t very common.”

McKee’s proposal included reimbursing drivers for the commercial driver’s license test packet, background check and “trip pay” for the 24 hours of training.

“Right now, we only currently have two people that are willing to sub who are full-time employees,” McKee said. “I talk to a couple more and when they found out what they have to go through to be driver, they lose interest pretty quick. And this is not going to fix it where everyone wants to sub, but hopefully the ones that were considering it, knowing they are not going to be out of pocket all this time an expense might entice them.”

McKee said once a driver “subs” their first route, the driver would get this reimbursement on the next paycheck. Superintendent David Rolland said if you start driving around the country, you will often see school buses parked in different towns with the ‘Now hiring school bus drivers’ banner on them.

McKee told the board the district has several drivers who are getting near the retirement age. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said.

The new bus driver compensation package was approved by the board.

In the White County Central School District, Superintendent Dean Stanley said, “We raised our substitute teacher pay to $85 for non-licensed individuals and to $100 for licensed teachers. We have struggled obtaining substitute teachers and would like to offer the monetary incentive to attract quality teachers. We believe this will make us the highest-paying district for substitute licensed teachers in the area.”

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