School bus drivers who cannot produce a diploma will be able to take a skills assessment test

The idea of ​​a school district hiring employees who don’t have a high school diploma once seemed paradoxical to Flagler County School Board member Colleen Conklin.

Now Conklin and the rest of the board understand the need to have an alternative for certain positions.

At its meeting on Tuesday, October 18, the board unanimously decided to update the job descriptions for bus drivers and bus driver helpers.

Bob Ouellette, director of human resources for the school district, presented the board with new job descriptions that add an option for those who cannot present a diploma or GED to demonstrate their ability to read and write by completing a test. assessment of basic skills. by the neighborhood.

Noting that there is a critical need to hire bus drivers right now, Ouellette said many driver and helper candidates are having trouble producing their credentials.

“We have a lot of second career people and immigrants who are struggling to prove their degree,” he said. “In the past month, eight people have been unable to produce it because their high school records do not exist or they are from other countries (where they cannot produce the documents).”

With council approval, the district will create an entry-level skills test that will focus on the skills they would need to be successful in their jobs, Oellette said.

“A lot of these drivers have (commercial driver’s licenses) and have been driving for a long time, and that hiccup alone keeps them from driving here.”

— CHERYL MASARO

Board member Cheryl Massaro thanked Ouellette for “thinking outside the box.”

“I’m thrilled to see this small change that will have a big effect,” she said. “A lot of these drivers have (commercial driver’s licenses) and have been driving for a long time, and that one issue keeps them from driving here. It’s not that we put people on the road who are unprepared. They don’t just don’t have the documents.

Conklin said she was against replacing the degree requirement when she originally appeared in a workshop, but she understands it can sometimes be difficult to get proof of a degree.

“I realize anyone coming from a second career, that would be a challenge,” she said.

The new job description for drivers states that “experience as a school bus driver or driver of other large vehicles (is) preferred”.

A bus driver training course is offered by the district transport department.

FINAL MEETING FOR THREE COUNCIL MEMBERS

This was the last board meeting for board chairman Trevor Tucker and board members Janet McDonald and Jill Woolbright. The current council will have an agenda workshop on November 1, which will be its last meeting before the November 8 election.

Tucker suggested that the workshop discussion include incoming board members Christy Chong and Sally Hunt as well as Courtney VandeBunte and Will Furry, who are vying for the District 2 seat. The other board members agreed. .

Conklin said that while the workshop will be a time to celebrate departing board members, she wanted to dedicate her closing comments to honoring them.

She said she enjoyed her conversations over the years with McDonald’s on child development and other topics and praised Tucker for having “a great sense of bringing everyone together” and trying to limit district expenses.

“We tease you a lot for this, but you’re still watching the bottom line, and we appreciate that,” she said.

Conklin said that while she and Woolbright had their differences, “I’ve always appreciated you bringing a teacher’s perspective to the stage, and I want you to know that.”

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