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Carmel offering cash incentives in effort to fix bus driver shortage

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CARMEL, Ind. (Feb. 11, 2016) -- Cash incentives offered to new bus drivers is the latest way Carmel-Clay Schools is hoping to combat a major shortage.

Calling the problem critical, the district's school board approved the incentives at a meeting on Monday.

New drivers will be offered a $1,500 bonus if they are on the roads for at least three months and have a satisfactory record on September 15.

New and current drivers are now eligible for increased bonuses for attendance, too. The bonus for no missed days in a semester increased from $150 to $450. One missed day will still earn drivers $225, up from $75 in the past.

"We’re going to try this and assess it and see if it makes any difference," Associate Superintendent of Business Affairs Roger McMichael said.

In late January, 300 students were late to school after the district did not have enough drivers to cover all of its routes. That happened despite mechanics and two office staff members filling in, too.

Larry Davis, a board member with the Indiana State School Bus Drivers Association, told CBS4 that the problem extends well beyond Carmel.

"I don’t know of a district (without a need) in Indiana and even nationwide. I’ve checked in other states and everybody needs drivers," Davis said.

Davis and his wife only recently changed careers to drive for local school districts. He said that the flexible hours were beneficial for them and that it is likely a better job than many people realize.

"I try to tell everybody ... it’s a great job, we love it, we enjoy being with the kids," Davis said.

If you might be interested in the positions in Carmel, the district said it can help you figure out if its the right fit and even let you test drive a bus before you commit. You can find more information at the link here.

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