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Davis Journal

District still has 100 positions to fill

Aug 19, 2021 11:00AM ● By Becky Ginos

The Davis School District has 30 openings for bus drivers. They may have to double up on bus routes. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

FARMINGTON—School starts Monday and the Davis School District has more than 100 classified positions to fill. Those include bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

“We have 30 openings for bus drivers, substitute bus drivers and substitute assistants,” said Chris Williams, Director of Communications & Operations for the district. “There are 90 openings for school cafeteria workers.”

Williams said they might have to double up on bus routes with people whose job is not necessarily to drive a bus. “There are mechanics in the Transportation Department who have a CDL license and are bus certified. We’re not in the position to tell parents we can’t pick up their kids.”

Students are eligible for a bus if they live one and a half miles from the elementary school or two miles in secondary schools, he said. “Parents can choose if they want to use the bus or carpool.”

Kids may be served a little slower in the cafeteria because they’re short staffed, said Williams. “That’s how we have to react when there are so many positions that haven’t been filled.”

It’s not just the Davis District either, he said. “I don’t know of any district that isn’t facing similar problems. It might be that people have received checks from the federal government that have put them in the position to say ‘why should I work?’ The unemployment rate is low which exacerbates the problem.”

Williams said the district pays for people to get the CDL bus endorsement but that takes a little bit of time. “There’s no way they can get hired tomorrow and be there on the first day of school. I’ve heard from cafeteria workers who say they love it. They’re able to stay on the same schedules as their kids in school. They don’t work holidays and they’re off when their kids are off which is fantastic.”

Retirees don’t mind driving the bus, he said. “We’ve had college students too. They can drive in the morning, take a break during the day to do homework or go to class and come back in the afternoon so it fits in well.”

The district is in good shape for teachers, said Williams. “I haven’t heard of anywhere that there’s not a teacher in the classroom. We’ve also found a way to bring in more teacher assistants and lots of classroom aides and our substitute pool is quite large.”

Also as the school year starts there’s the question of masks. “We’re encouraging masks but we know people have a choice,” Williams said. “We’re not requiring masks, we don’t have that ability right now. We’re not discouraging anyone from wearing a mask.” 

It’s their choice whether they want to or not, he said. “We just want to keep our kids healthy and school safe up to a point that we’re in control of that. We’re not in control of what happens after school and we’re not in a position to follow any mask mandate. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the vaccine will make a difference.”