BAISD introducing new substitute bus driver system next year


BAY CITY — The Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District (BAISD) is looking to ease the burden of finding substitute bus drivers for its member districts with a new program the ISD is introducing next year.

According to BAISD Superintendent Michael Dewey, school districts in the BAISD, including Standish-Sterling Community Schools, Pinconning Area Schools, Arenac Eastern and AuGres-Sims, often struggle to find drivers to fill in when full-time district drivers aren’t available.

“It really is a challenge sometimes to find substitute bus drivers. … Especially my northern districts,” he said, adding under the new program next year, a private firm, Michigan Education Transportation Service (METS), will provide a group of individuals who will be on call to substitute. “We can say to them (METS) ‘We’re going to need a pool of drivers.’

“I’m contracting with them (METS) to find these individuals.”

Dewey says the pool will be beneficial for substitute drivers, since they only need to sign up at the BAISD, Bay City, and not with each individual district they would like to drive for. He adds that drivers can also select the days and districts they will be available to drive, similar to the way the BAISD currently operates its substitute teaching system.

As for the districts in the ISD, Dewey says they will also benefit, since they won’t have to provide training and background checks, and he says the districts could also save some money, always a plus.

“It’s gong to save our districts from having to put ads out there saying ‘We’re looking for drivers,’” Dewey said. “I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

He says the way the program will work next year, its pilot year, is that a district will let METS know when it needs a substitute and METS will provide them with an available driver. The billing to districts for drivers, though, is still being worked out. Dewey says METS may bill the districts directly, or the BAISD may serve as a middleman between the private firm and the school district being provided with a substitute driver.

“Basically they (drivers) will be employees of METS,” Dewey said, adding if drivers sign up for multiple days and multiple districts, it could serve as more than just part-time work. “It could be full employment for them.”

He says the program will be evaluated at the end of the 2009-10 school year and that it’s a relatively new concept.

“It’s something that’s just starting,” he said. “We’re one of the first (ISD’s) in our region to do this, and when I say our region, I mean the tip of the thumb to the tip of the mitten.”


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