July 3, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Experiencing Bus Driver Shortage

District considering lowering current level of job qualifications

By Dolores Quintana

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is experiencing an extreme shortage of applicants for open school bus driver positions that are much like the rest of the country. 

In an attempt to attract more qualified applicants, the District has advanced the idea to lower the current level of job qualifications. As of now, the minimums are a high school diploma, six months of training plus professional driving experience and a clean driving record, along with the proper licenses and certifications that are required by the state reported the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Josh Kahn, Director of Personnel said to the Santa Monica Daily Press, “The district will propose making the high school diploma and the professional driving experience preferred qualifications, but not required in October.” Kahn added that “The district will be maintaining the necessary certifications, licenses and clean driving record.” Those state-mandated requirements are non-negotiable and will remain in place. 

In addition, the Personnel Commission has already approved a higher pay rate to make those positions even more competitive. Bus driving pay will start out at what would normally be the highest pay rate for the most experienced drivers which is $24.88 an hour. 

There are two open positions for the district, one of which has been open for over a year and a half or since Jan. 2020. While the open position had 19,000 views on the site and over a hundred applications up until July of 2021, there were only six candidates out of that number that could be considered qualified for the open jobs. 

Personnel Director Kahn also added to the Santa Monica Daily Press, “Even if someone had very limited experience they’d still be able to take advantage of this offer, and receive more starting out with us than they would in other districts within L.A. However, even advertising at this higher rate, it’s still less than what some private companies, such as American Transportation offer, which is $29 an hour and a $1,000 per sign on bonus, which really speaks to how dire the current climate is.” 

Qualified bus drivers are so in demand that the SMMUSD feels justified in offering potential busing employees the most advantageous terms possible. It is really that difficult to find the proper people for the job and it is affecting the day to day operations of the schools and the district. 

“Just as we were calling other districts for [busing] support. They’re calling us in support,” Superintendent Ben Drati said to the Santa Monica Daily Press, “And charter, they’re not existing because they’ve been taken up already. So we’re going to have to problem solve this situation.” 

In other states, the situation is so desperate that Governors have sent members of the National Guard to drive school buses in states like Massachusetts and Ohio as reported by Fortune. In Texas, teachers and basketball coaches have been asked to drive buses before the school day starts and in New York, the state is launching a campaign to staff up against a large number of vacancies using multiple departments in the government to recruit drivers who have commercial licenses as reported by The Hustle. 

Superintendent Drati said to the Santa Monica Daily Press that most of the need for busing internally within SMMUSD is in the Malibu area, but Santa Monica has needs for field trips and special education. He said that he has also received emails about the need for buses in athletics programs.

If you are interested in a position as a bus driver with SMMUSD, you can find the job page here: https://g.co/kgs/craA7n

Related Posts

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...

Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change: Santa Monica Beat – June 27th, 2022

June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change * Smash...