The Effingham County Board of Education approved a wording change to the policy for hiring positions, including bus drivers and custodians, in an attempt to allow for more people to be hired.
The one word change now states that a high school diploma or equivalent is preferred instead of required.
Human Resources Director Becky Long told the board she felt it was necessary to change the wording.
“We feel as we continue to check with other systems in our area that our wages are very competitive particularly for bus drivers, and we continue to hear how difficult it is to get bus drivers,” she said.
Long said she was requesting the board consider the change be made for bus drivers, monitors, nutritional services workers and for custodians and custodial maintenance. The positions are all entry-level positions.
“We know there were some bus drivers out there from other systems, but they don’t have a high school diploma or GED,” Long said.
She said it would help find people to work that may be working to obtain a GED, but have not yet done so.
“They may be older and never had one,” Long said.
Superintendent Randy Shearouse said the system had some experienced bus drivers interested in working in Effingham, but could not be hired because they did not have a high school diploma or GED.
“They’ve been driving for years,” Shearouse said.
Shearouse had told the board earlier there is a shortage of bus drivers.
“I think Mr. Jimmy Helmly’s reports sound similar from time to time,” Shearouse said of the transportation updates, “that the driver pool is looking grim. We always have a need for drivers.”
Shearouse said the unemployment rate in the county is 3.4 percent.
The board report said that when there are field trips and athletic events the shortage makes it difficult to cover the routes. It also said that extra-curricular personnel who have obtained a license to drive a bus have helped greatly during the driver shortage.