APS transportation faces challenges but strong staffing

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As Albuquerque Public Schools’ new year approaches, they still need bus drivers, crossing guards and people doing other transportation jobs.

City of Albuquerque provides guards for over 74 metro elementary schools. However, with over 200 crossings, the department needs to be fully staffed to properly operate.

The good news, though?

“We’re starting the semester off well. We’re staffed much better than where we were last semester. But we have these challenges that we are dealing with,” said Richard Deischel, the lead crossing guard.

Those challenges include a new bell schedule for APS students. School days will also be longer for elementary school students.

“They’ve condensed the bell times. They are tighter so it’s been a challenge for us to be able to cover the crossings because a lot of our guards have two schools in the morning. They work their crossing and they’ll have two in the afternoon. Well, they need to have time to get from one school to the other. So that’s been a real challenge because a lot of our guards, where they had two schools, can only have one now,” Deischel added.

The department needs to hire a few more guards than usual to meet the challenges. By the start of the school year, they’re hoping to have over 160 guards.

Crossing guard jobs aren’t the only transportation ones Albuquerque Public Schools is filling. Jobs on the bus need to be filled and staffing is looking good there too.

“Here we actually are doing better this year than last year. We are still short some drivers. We need about 30 more,” said Cory Brook, the safety supervisor for APS Transportation.

APS leaders say they’ve raised the pay rate for new bus drivers. Now, they earned $21.20 an hour, instead of $20 an hour.

There’s also a higher incentive for drivers with previous experience.

To promote all of this and fill positions, APS will be hosting a job fair to exclusively hire bus drivers, SUV drivers and bus attendants ahead of the school year.

That job fair is this Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Westside Transportation Center, located at 7301 Los Volcanes Rd. N.W.

For more information about all of these jobs mentioned, click here.