HOUSTON — In order to attract new bus drivers to the current Wildcat fleet, the Hardin-Houston Local School District is adding a new incentive for those persons seeking employment in school transportation. In its attempt to stay current with the times and maintain quality transportation services for the students and parents of the Hardin-Houston School District, the H-H BOE made a decision to add the incentive for all current drivers and any new candidates that are hired as drivers to receive the option of family health insurance at a very affordable low cost.
“We believe that we are already pretty competitive when it comes to the package we are currently offering our driving fleet,” said Houston Superintendent Larry Claypool. “I commend the board for being innovative and willing to reward those faithful employees as well as new drivers with a benefit that can really make a difference for a family with the needs of family health insurance coverage.”
For those employees already driving for the district, each driver currently receives a highly competitive salary schedule and single health insurance. With the new policy, family health insurance if requested, will be available at an excellent, low cost and the opportunities for additional evening and weekend trips for extra earning potential.
A starting driver, with zero years of experience begins at $20.55 per hour, said Claypool. A seasoned driver with 15 years of driving experience can earn $25.48 per hour. Each employee also receives five paid holidays, three personal days, the accrual of sick days and an investment in the SERS state retirement program.
“Finding qualified drivers has become more of a challenge over recent years,” said H-H Board of Education President Joel Knouff. “This isn’t just a Hardin-Houston struggle, or even a Shelby County or West Central Ohio problem. This is an issue witnessed in many districts throughout the country. Updating our insurance options was an opportunity the board recognized to potentially increase interest in driving for those who might need insurance for their families.”
For those who are considering becoming a bus driver, the district provides stretch pay. This is a concept that many people who work all year around are not familiar with, said Claypool.
A small amount of the driver’s monthly pay is placed in reserve so that the driver has a consistent income over the summer months, he said. That benefit, along with the minimal costs for either single of family health insurance adds to the pleasure of enjoying the summer months without the necessity of looking for additional new income to supplement the nine month school year.
“Another benefit our drivers appreciate is that we single route. That means that almost all of the routes are about an hour and fifteen minutes morning and afternoon. Only driving 2 ½ hours per day allows the drivers hours in the day for other employment or for personal family time,” said Claypool.
Although the district is looking for applicants already certified to drive a school bus, for those candidates who are not already licensed to drive, if selected the district has a plan to get them trained and licensed in a reasonable amount of time. Interested candidates should contact Transportation Coordinator Becky Heitman, 937-295-3010, ext. 3000, or Claypool, 937-295-3010, ext. 3001.