|A depiction of the billboard that will be up in six locations in the area advertising the openings.|
School is out, but the Niskayuna Central School District's effort to provide
high quality student transportation will soon be quite visible on area roadways:
Billboards recruiting school bus driving professionals to join the Niskayuna
team are set to go up in six locations beginning Monday, June 29.
The billboards are part of the district's effort to ensure it has sufficient bus drivers for the 2015-16 school year. The district is in the process of returning to direct employment of bus drivers after two years with a contractor.
Although recruitment efforts began early in the spring, about 20 drivers are still needed to fully staff next year's routes and have an adequate number of substitutes. This is not out of step with national trends indicating that a shortage of school bus drivers is a challenged districts face in states across the country.
The cost of having the billboards up for two weeks in the six locations, which are primarily in Schenectady County, is $2,250. The locations deliver more than 325,000 total weekly "impressions" â€“ an advertising term for the number of people likely to see the billboards.
"Bus drivers play an incredibly important role in our school district," Niskayuna Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said. "They are the first people from school that students see in the morning and they can set a positive tone for the day. We are looking for great people to do this important job in our community. Our hope is that the billboards help us with that."
The district's efforts to recruit bus drivers have also included a "referral bonus" of $300 for current employees in the largest support staff unit who refer a new driver hired by the district.
First-year drivers make $18.27 per hour. The district will also provide paid training for the right candidates to receive the necessary Class B license. Divers are eligible for the membership in the New York State Retirement system. Most of the district's bus driver positions are part-time, although routes that require 30 hours or more include the option of health benefits.
As the billboards advertise, the district is also seeking bus monitors for the 2015-16 school year.
Anyone interested in being a school bus driver or monitor in Niskayuna should contact the district's Transportation Department at 370-0160 by phone or stop by the office in-person at 1301 Hillside Avenue, Niskayuna, between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.