UniteGPS – Prospective bus drivers at Tulsa Public Schools can expect heightened job security thanks to the district providing year-round contracts to new hires. When it comes to solving the issue of limited full-time working opportunities perpetuating the shortage of bus drivers, this community may have found the answer.
Bus driver contracts at Tulsa Public Schools
To safeguard retention, this job security package guarantees pay for bus drivers during the summer months to incentivize them to return the following year. This will also include up to 10 paid holidays as well as benefits, according to KTUL News.
Due to health reasons and suspended in-person learning halting bus routes, Tulsa Public Schools Director of Transportation Steve Blakley says that the district has lost around 40 drivers since the pandemic began over two years ago.
According to Blakley, he doesn’t know of any other school districts giving 12-month contracts to bus drivers. While Tulsa Public Schools has needed to cut certain positions and extend routes, recruitment and training have been constant undertakings.
Legislation in Oklahoma to address student transportation
This positive news from Tulsa Public Schools comes as two transportation bills in Oklahoma recently passed the House of Representatives and are currently en route to the Senate. Both bills bolster student transportation rather than directly tackling the shortage of bus drivers, however.
The first bill is HB3086 which would allocate funds to parents taking turns carpooling students to school every day, although there are concerns surrounding liability in case of an accident. Meanwhile, bill HB3084 would permit school buses to transfer students by traveling outside of the district, meaning students will have more reliable school transportation if they live outside of the neighborhood.
Not only do legislators attribute low wages and minimal benefits to the bus driver shortage but also urban sprawl plus the disappearance of walkable communities.