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Lee's Summit R-7 schools struggling with shortage of trip drivers

School bus driver
Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 18:20:18-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — The need for school bus drivers is known, but the Lee's Summit R-7 School District says it needs trip drivers.

Trip drivers transport students to field trips or sports activities. The district said they would like to fill at least 10 positions.

"We had to charter some routes out that we didn’t want to because we didn't have enough drivers to pull it off," said Scott Connell, a bus training supervisor with the district.

Connell said while more route drivers are welcome, the need for trip drivers comes from growth in the district.

“We added another middle school, so there’s that many more trips and they all want to go at the same time, and we just don’t have enough people to make that happen," Connell said.

Connell said issues finding trip drivers stem from a lack of people with CDL's, competition with other jobs and intimidation driving a bus.

Christine Riley thought it was intimidating driving a school bus at first, but has been a district school bus driver for 10 years.

"I didn’t know if I could learn how to master the turning around the corners, the roads that weren’t so wide," she said. "But it’s a lot of fun once you get the hand of it."

Riley currently drives a route picking up and dropping students off from home to school and back. She used to be a trip driver and has fond memories of her travels.

“One of my wrestling trips that I went on and we were in Jeff City," she said. "One of the things that they thought was so great was that the driver came and sat in the stands and cheered them on. So there’s a lot of things, you get to know the kids and it’s fun watching them."

Job requirements include a drug test, background checks and a CDL. A district spokesperson said the pay range is between $18.69 to $26.18 an hour based on experience.

People interested in applying can do so on the district's website.