MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – Marshall County Schools have only two substitute school bus drivers. They used to have 20.

So if any of their 68 regular drivers call off, they have to stretch their resources. “If we have a driver that can cover two routes, we’ll pull that driver and let them run that route in need, and then the other driver covers the other two,” said Harry Midcap, outgoing transportation director.

But that won’t work indefinitely. They could eventually have to cancel routes. “And to do that, we’d have to get hold of parents, and get other forms of transportation to get the children home,” Midcap said.

So why aren’t people applying to be substitute bus drivers? They admit the training is a lot. They have to learn the bus, inside and out. “You’re talking a 40,000 pound machine,” said Midcap. “I know it sounds overwhelming.”

“It’s daunting at first, but we have great trainers that will teach you everything you need to know about that vehicle,” said Jody Korn, incoming transportation director. “How to maneuver it safely, which is our main priority. And more daunting is the children inside, but we’ll teach you how to deal with those too.”

Some people may hesitate to apply because they fear they couldn’t have control over any unruly students. “But you do have control,” Korn noted. “A good bus driver has total control over their bus. There are rules and regulations that back up that driver.”

They believe the pluses of the job outweigh any minuses. “I started as a sub,” Korn said. “I subbed for two and a half years. I became a driver, then became a driver trainer. And now I’m going to be the next director. So you can make a career out of it. You can step up.”

“And it’s just fun,” Midcap said. “Kids are fun. They say the darnedest things, as they used to say. And once you get a route and you see them grow up, it’s just fun to be with them.”

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