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Long County schools seek to hire, retain bus drivers
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After next week's school open houses, buses will roll the on Aug. 3, when classes restart for the year. - photo by Stock photo

The Long County School System is recruiting new bus drivers and the system is willing to incentivize the job in order to gain new employees. 

“We are constantly looking for new bus drivers. One of the things that we are trying to improve upon is the pay,” said Long County Superintendent David Edwards.  “We raised their pay last year; a dollar an hour.” 

Another incentive will be to offer bus drivers other positions in the school system. “The pay for our bus drivers is very good but it’s not a full time position.  So if we have a vacancy for a custodian or a paraprofessional, for example, then we let our bus drivers know and they can become full time employees. It’s not the same pay as a bus driver but they still get more hours,” Edwards explained.

The requirements for bus drivers are as follows: 

• Applicants must be 21 years of age

• Must have a valid Georgia Driver’s license

• Must have a Class B commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with P (passenger) and S (school bus) endorsements

• Must have a good driving record

• Proof of a current physical  

• Must have a clean background check and drug test 

Anyone who is interested can apply online on the Long County School System website or walk in at the Long County Board of Education office and request an application.    

Prior to the start of school, Long County school officials agreed to give out basic school supplies.  

“In the past two years we have been participating in a program called consolidated funding,” the superintendent said. “They are federal funds that are able to be combined and lose their identity. They can be treated just like local and state dollars which gives our principals great flexibility. So this is our third year with that; so that has helped. Also, the state gave us a state holiday on some benefits so that saved us some money as well. If interested, parents or nearby churches can also drop off supplies.”

Edwards also spoke to the Courier about new changes to the school system and its curriculum.   

Last year the Long County Board of Education enforced a rule for students to only carry clear or mesh book bags to school for safety reasons; however, they have decided to get rid of the rule. 

“Although the intent was to improve safety we found that there was too many variables that continued to challenge the purpose of clear and mesh book bags,” according to Edwards.  

In each school there will be small changes to the curriculum.

“Smiley Elementary School and McClelland Elementary will be introducing new STEM classes,” the superintendent said. “The middle school will be receiving instruction on growth mindset and character mindset throughout the year.” 

When asked if a JROTC program would soon be established, Edwards responded, “We are very interested in the JROTC program. We would implement it immediately if we could; unfortunately, there is a wait list. We will continue to work towards that program. It may be possible that we could implement it in January but at this time we have no real date.” 

Although the JROTC program may not be coming for a while the high school is still continuing to enlarge its programs. 

 “At the high school we are continuing to expand our dual enrollment, to include classes for future early childhood elementary teachers,” Edwards continued. “Interested students will be able to take education classes from Coastal Pines Technical College on our high school campus. This is a bridge program that feeds directly into a bachelor’s degree of early childhood from Valdosta State. Even our paraprofessionals can take advantage of a similar program where they can take classes in the afternoon to get their teacher’s certification. 

“We have broadened our work based learning program at the high school. We have a full time work based learning instructor which allows students to do that at any time because the instructor is available to go supervise,” Edwards said. 

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