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Schools seek to hire 40-60 bus drivers

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SMITHFIELD­­ — Johnston County Public Schools hopes to recruit 40-60 new school bus drivers at a job fair planned from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the school system’s facility services building, 601 W. Market St.

Johnston County school buses travel more than 22,000 miles each day, transporting more than 23,000 students.

“We have exploding growth in area that requires more drivers,” said Chase Ferrell, the school system’s auxiliary services and safety officer. “We have areas that require more drivers. We are the seventh-largest and second-fastest growing county in the state.”

Ferrell said the county would love to hire a minimum of 40-60 new drivers.

There are 100 full-time drivers, along with certified employees, including teaching assistants, custodians, kitchen staff and front office personnel who also drive.

“If the need is there, we use our classified employees,” said Ferrell. “A lot of these people have permanent routes. We also have substitute routes and maintain a rotation list.”

Ferrell described what it takes to be a good bus driver.

“We’re looking for people who are caring and want a rewarding career,” said Ferrell. “They must obtain a commercial driver’s license and successfully complete three days of intensive training from the Division of Motor Vehicle to obtain a permit. The DMV won’t put them on the road if they aren’t ready.”

On most routes, Ferrell said there are monitors on board.

“At the job fair, applicants will meet hiring managers who can answer questions about how to apply online,” said Ferrell. “Human resources will be there to discuss benefits, including health and retirement plans.”

Ferrell said bus drivers’ pay starts at $13.40 per hour with a minimum of 5 ½ hours each week. Veteran drivers max out at $17.50 per hour.

“Knowing that we’re in charge of transporting that many students on a daily basis is a task we take very seriously,” said Ferrell. “We’re carrying the pride and joy of Johnston County families every day.”

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