UKIAH, 2/20/22 — Tuesday, Feb. 22, marks School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. It’s not a federal holiday, but school districts across the U.S. will be taking a moment to honor the people who transport their children to and from school safely. Here in Mendocino County, the Ukiah Unified School District (UUSD) marked the occasion by passing a resolution earlier this month thanking their drivers, aides and transportation support staff for safely racking up 136,285 miles on 16 buses in 2020 — and more than 14 million miles from 2017 to 2020.
How can you show your appreciation for school bus drivers? District officials have some suggestions:
- Gift cards
- Thank them verbally
- Thank them with a card or a letter
- You can also consider taking a selfie with the driver and putting it on the internet, but ask the driver first.
The district is also hiring; and it pays better than you might think. Starting drivers earn from $19.37 to $23.42 hourly, with the salary range topping out at around $39. There’s also a $900 signing bonus for new hires who complete training and work 20 days. Benefits include health insurance, flexible scheduling, paid time off and a retirement package managed by the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS).
“It was ideal when my kids were little,” said driver and trainer-of-drivers Debbie Kirby, who has been doing the job for 33 years. “I was able to be at work, with them, and have the same days off. Now, it’s still rewarding.”
There are currently six open positions, according to district officials, and Kirby is looking forward to setting up classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training for interested candidates. Call 707-472-5040 for more information, apply online here or pick up an application in person at 511 S. Orchard Ave. in Ukiah.
You can also check out the district’s flier for Schoolbus Driver Appreciation Day below: