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INDIANAPOLIS — Perry Township Schools is actively recruiting bus drivers to help get their students to school. This weekend they are hosting a special event to give people a chance to see what it’s like behind the wheel. 

Transportation Director Patrick Murphy says the bus driver is the first person who sees the students as they start their school day.  

“The bus driver is extremely important in the children’s success here in Perry Township,” said Murphy. 

They can set the tone for the day, and they have a very important role. So it’s important to get their open positions filled so the students can have a consistent driver, instead of someone being forced to fill in. 

“I think that this is a nationwide problem right now.” 

Right now, the district is down about seven total bus drivers, which means they are constantly pulling people from all across the transportation department to fill in on routes. 

They are looking to hire about 17 drivers so that they have plenty to cover all buses, especially as some call out sick or need time off.  

“When all these people, there’s 16 of them, when they are out and they are driving the buses, their jobs aren’t getting done,” said Murphy. 

“That means kids aren’t getting placed on buses. That means routes aren’t getting updated. That means the mechanics aren’t here working on the buses.” 

They are inviting anyone interested to their “Drive a Bus with Us” event Saturday morning at the Jeremiah Gray Elementary School. 

“Sometimes people know that we’re looking for bus driving jobs, but they don’t know, they think, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I can drive the bus.’ Come on out. We’ll put you behind the wheels of one of these buses. We’ll put you in a safe environment. Let you take a spin around the parking lot so you can see what it’s like to drive a school bus,” said Murphy. 

“We do these events to gain interest. So that people can understand that we do need these positions filled. It’s all about the safety of the children. We want to make sure that we’re getting kids to and from school in a safe and efficient manner. So that’s why we really need these positions filled.” 

At the event, they will have candidates paired with a coach to make sure they’re comfortable and to direct them.  

They’ll also talk to you about the job. It includes one-on-one training, starting pay at $23 an hour, plus additional compensation for drivers with previous experience. They also cover the cost of your Indiana CDL school bus exam. 

There will be people on hand on Saturday to answer any additional questions anyone might have. 

The event it at Jeremiah Gray Elementary School on Gray Road from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.