Looking to make some extra cash for the holidays while helping the education community?
Churchill County School District still has several job openings for residents to drive buses during both the morning and afternoon shifts. Facing a growing shortage caused by pandemic, ChurchillCSD offers training and the hours needed to drive, which do not exceed 40, before bringing on bus drivers to help with transporting students to and from school. With sports scheduled to return in January, the challenge to provide enough drivers to transport for games on top of the scheduled routes grows stronger.
“We’ve been short on bus drivers for quite a few years,” ChurchillCSD Director of Administrative Services and Operations Kevin Lords said. “The pandemic added to it. Some of our bus drivers for their own health reasons felt they couldn’t drive during this time. We’ve lost a few bus drivers.”
Lords said drivers need a commercial driver's license (CDL), which is obtained by passing a test after the training – an incentive that ChurchillCSD proudly provides. Requirements for the CDL license are listed on the state’s DMV website.
Lords said once the requirements have been satisfied and the driver has passed the CDL license test, ChurchillCSD can get the driver on routes quickly. He also said anyone who meets the requirements can apply but pointed out retired truck drivers and ChurchillCSD employees as being good candidates. In the past two weeks, he said the district picked up several substitutes.
One of the biggest challenges with filling these positions is they’re not full-time jobs, Lords said.
The morning and afternoon routes are usually a couple hours each, which Lords admitted makes it difficult to compete with full-time jobs. A perk, though, is if a driver puts in more than four hours per day, he or she will qualify for some benefits. Another perk is bus drivers have their summers off.
“A lot of our bus drivers pick up the noon duty shift and that puts them more in a full-time position,” Lords said. “There are opportunities for them to be full time. It’s just a matter of the market. If you have a CDL outside of education, there’s good paying jobs driving a truck or bus. It’s hard for the public system to compete with those ways.”
Sports begin in January and while the available schedules show most of the competitions on Fridays and Saturdays, Lords there could still be some challenges. To maintain social distancing, the number of busses could double with football and track and field – the two largest fielded teams – seeing the biggest impact.
Fortunately for ChurchillCSD, the football team will play all of its games on Saturdays when the season starts in late February. For winter sports, which start in January, most of the basketball games are Friday-Saturday and each program fields freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams. Worst-case scenario is the district can have coaches drive vans to alleviate the bus use but only if requirements allow it.
“If we start up in January full board, it will complicate our issue, but we do have some vans that we purchased a few years ago that we can have the coaches drive,” Lords said. “You can fit your basketball team in two vans and run them, but that’s if the governor pulls the restriction on transportation. That is worrisome for us.”
The same approach holds true for all extracurricular activities like concerts. Lords said ChurchillCSD has been discussing different scenarios with using multiple buses, vans and a combination of the two. Another option is having parents transport their children to the event. Donnie Nelson of the NIAA said there’s no rule that prevents this alternative, but it would be left to the district.
In addition to bus drivers, Lords said the district has openings for substitute teachers.
The first part of the school year has gone better than expected and ChurchillCSD will be in better shape soon once retirees are eligible to substitute teach. They needed to wait 90 days before coming back into the classroom.
“We are short on substitute teachers, but we’ve been short for years and have had to have teachers in prep hour teach class or we combine classes,” Lords said. “We can always use more subs at every level. Because they’re temp jobs, a lot of people don’t stay in them and find permanent jobs.”
Lords said they’re in better shape than their neighboring counties in filling teaching positions.
“We’ve been very blessed,” he said. “A lot of our high school grads who get their degree come back here, and we’ve hired several of those young folks. So that’s nice and it speaks to our community and people want to come back, and that they want to teach in our school system.”
To apply for a position at ChurchillCSD, apply online at https://www.churchillcsd.com/human-resources-a51f1d18
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