BREAUX BRIDGE, LA — With 17 campuses and about 8000 students in St. Martin Parish, some days there just aren't enough drivers to get students to and from school. Superintendent Allen Blanchard says the number of drivers isn't the issue, rather it's the number of substitutes. He tells KATC, "we do have a shortage of substitute bus drivers, we currently run the buddy system from time to time, where if the driver is out and we can't find a sub, two or three bus drivers will pick up the route for the person that's out."
That translates to crowded, near capacity loads and students getting picked up and dropped off much later than usual. "We just don't have that many people coming on as substitutes and that problem is not unique to St. Martin Parish", adds Blanchard. He says the lack of hours may not be very appealing to someone looking for a job but being a sub could lead to future full-time opportunities. "It's sort of a catch-22, you have to be there as a sub and not guaranteed a permanent route everyday and permanent income every day in order to be in the rotation to become a permanent driver", Blanchard explains.
He stresses that the uncertainty is worth it however, since around 10 to 12 substitute drivers are advanced each year as older drivers retire. Full-time drivers work about 180 days a year for five hours a day and earn full benefits, including retirement. Substitute drivers are paid $65 for each day they are called fill in.
If you're interested in becoming a substitute school bus driver or substitute teacher, you can find out more information by contacting the St. Martin Parish School Board or by going to their website.