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Richland One is Hiring Bus Drivers; District Offering Signing Bonuses

Harris

Pictured: Marseda Harris

Marseda Harris had her mind set on driving an 18-wheeler for her livelihood. Two months in, she decided that being a truck driver and spending so much time on the road was not the life for her. It was a sign posted outside Richland One’s North Main Street Student Transportation Services site that prompted her to apply for a bus driver position, in addition to her love of children.

“My favorite part of being a (school) bus driver is picking my babies up and dropping them off safely,” said Harris. “I only have one child, so I enjoy pouring my love onto everyone else’s babies.”

Richland One needs 35 bus drivers to address a 6 percent decrease in staffing that closely mirrors the shortage of bus drivers in school districts across the state and nation. Rick Grisham, director of student transportation services, is optimistic about the district’s ability to draw the candidates needed.

“We offer competitive wages, bonuses, training and other benefits which make a position with us attractive,” said Grisham.

Bus driver pay was increased by 5% percent in the state’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year. Bus drivers in Richland One will receive that pay raise plus a 4.5% increase approved by the Richland One Board of School Commissioners for bus drivers and other non-teaching staff.

New bus drivers receive a $500 signing bonus, plus Richland One offers paid CDL training for interested applicants who do not have a commercial driver’s license and bus driver certification for those who do. The district also offers health and dental coverage as well as college tuition reimbursement for bus drivers who want to pursue a higher education degree.

Harris said she welcomed the health and dental benefits, none of which she had at her previous job. She came to the district with her CDL but needed the passenger school bus endorsement, which was promptly and conveniently provided.

For those who don’t have their CDL and are hesitant to apply for fear of training, Harris said, “First, the training is paid for by the district and it’s on site. And, it’s not difficult at all, if you study on your own.”

Applicants must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma (or GED) and pass rigorous South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) background checks. Applications may be submitted online via the district’s website (www.richlandone.org). From the home page, click on the Employment tab then click on Apply Online; go to External Applicants then click on Start an Application for Employment.

For more information, contact Grisham at rick.grisham@richlandone.org or (803) 231-7002, or Dennis Jones, safety and training manager for the district, at dennis.jones@richlandone.org or (803) 691-5593.