By Marianne Scott Rushville Republican
---- — We called him Mr. Jones and to this day I’m still not sure what his first name was! All I know is that for twelve years he was my bus driver who faithfully picked me up and took me to and from school. He was never late and if there was a substitute driver, you knew Mr. Jones must really be sick. He watched me grow from a first grader to a high school student always lugging around a tenor sax. He was a constant in my life and one of those behind the scenes people who I’m sure were never thanked enough.
In a few short days, forty eight Rush County School Bus Drivers will begin their daily trek of picking up and delivering students to seven schools. They will be one of the constants in our student’s lives. However, before a school bus engine is ever started several things must be in place. All Rush County School Bus drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license with the appropriate endorsements and pass the required physical examination. Further, they must pass the required DOT pre-employment drug test. Once these requirements have been met new drivers serve one school year (or the major portion thereof) as a probationary period. At the end of the year, and if they have met all qualifications satisfactorily, they become a permanent employee.
A slate of safety rules guides the Rush County school bus drivers. In fact the current list of safety rules for drivers totals 33 items. These rules range all the way from when you start the bus engine to cell phone usage. When you add to that safety rules for students, bus discipline, bus maintenance and emergency conditions, driving a bus becomes much more than just a trip to and from school. In addition to the forty eight regular bus drivers, an additional twenty seven people are listed as substitute drivers.
“During the summer months all corporation owed buses are given a good cleaning and checked for any needed repairs inside and out. During the school year drivers direct their vehicles to bus maintenance for routine diesel engine service. We have a great group of dedicated people who make school transportation their priority,” stated Mark VanNatta, director maintenance and transportation.
So get ready to hum a few bars of - “The wheels on the bus go round and round” as you see the return of school buses to the roads of Rush County. Rest assured that your students are in good hands as they make their way to school. And yes it is one more reason why Rush County Schools are a great place to be.
Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund director/Information officer with Rush County Schools.