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Pasco, Hillsborough Schools hiring bus drivers

Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 18:33:10-05
Two of the area's largest school districts are looking to hire school bus drivers, and they want to act fast.
 
Hillsborough County Schools need about 50 bus drivers. Pasco County Schools needs around 30 school bus drivers.
 
For Jonna Pretto, driving a school bus is more than a job. It's a privilege.
 
"We're the first people they see in the morning and the last people they see in the day," she said.
 
She looks forward to seeing kids come aboard each day.
 
"We have to encourage them," Pretto said. "These are our future children. You need to encourage them."
 
In Pasco and Hillsborough Counties, new bus driver applicants need a clean driving and arrest record. But applicants also have to want to work with children and have patience.
 
"You need to enjoy kids, working with kids is really the best part of the job," said Gary Sawyer, Pasco Schools Transportation Director.
 
Hillsborough and Pasco County Schools both have training programs that will help you get your license to drive a bus. For both districts, you will get cleared, background checked and fingerprinted. Then, you are paid to go to training.
 
In Pasco, pay starts at $12/hour and drivers receive district medical benefits. The transportation department says there's room to move up
 
"They don't have to remain a driver forever," Sawyer said. "They can follow a career path, become driver trainers, relief drivers. They can move into supervisory positions."
 
"It's not a complacent job," Pretto said. "It's an advancement job."
 
For Pretto, she's going on 11 years in this line of work and plans to continue for many more.
 
"It takes patience, yes, but it's more rewarding in that you're seeing children grow," she said.
 
Pasco County Schools has information sessions where you can learn more about the training and benefits of these jobs.  Call 727-774-1862 for more information, or visit their website.
 
Hillsborough County Schools asks applicants to visit their website to learn more.