The State of Hoover Buses

You may recall that Superintendent Andy Craig recommended eliminating buses for students in general education on July 15, 2013.

After Craig flew to Washington in November 2013 for a meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Hoover Board of Education  (HBOE) voted at the December 9, 2013, regular meeting to rescind their vote at the July meeting, effectively reinstating the buses.

I still wonder why Craig couldn’t simply recommend reinstating the buses and why the Board chose to use a parliamentary procedure to do the right thing.

Late in the day on December 2, 2014, James Knickrhem, Coordinator of Pupil Transportation, sent an email to parents of Hoover students announcing a job fair on December 3 and 4. Here is the content of that email:

Dear Parents, If you, or someone you know, would like a fantastic part time job with excellent benefits as part of an incredible team supporting our children, our school system is seeking school bus drivers as well as substitute drivers. Find out more about becoming a certified school bus driver,… [the link no longer works, BTW]

The Transportation Department provides all necessary hands-on training. Preliminary interviews will be held on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 and Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 8:00a-4:00p at the Transportation Office of Hoover City Schools’ Operations Center, near Hoover High School.

For more information please contact Transportation Coordinator James Knickrehm at 205-439-1126, the Transportation Department at 205-439-1120 or email

At the December 8 board meeting, Human Resources Director Mary Veal reported that seven people are going to begin training as a result of the job fair.

Oh, the irony.

Hoover couldn’t get rid of our bus drivers fast enough last year.

The board even authorized Chief School Financial Officer Cathy Antee to negotiate with a transportation provider to contract bus drivers.

Last February, we posted the net loss of bus drivers since Craig made his recommendation to eliminate buses. 22 had resigned, and 10 had been hired. A net loss of 12.

As of the December 8 board meeting, based on personnel reports, since the July 2013 announcement to eliminate buses, 43 drivers had resigned, and 26 had been hired, for a net loss of 17 drivers.

According to state personnel reports, as of October 2014, Hoover City Schools employed 130 bus drivers, which includes drivers who drive buses dedicated to students with special needs.

In those same reports for October 2012 and October 2013, Hoover City Schools employed 151 bus drivers.

Are there fewer routes? There are six fewer regular education and three fewer special education bus routes than there were during the 2013-2014 school year.

As a result, there are a total of 171 routes being driven by 130 drivers.

So the next time you see a bus driver, please say thank you. They have an incredibly important job, transporting our children to and from school every day. The conditions in which they have operated since July 2013 have been less than ideal, from a human resources standpoint.

They could have all left, and for a while it looked like they might.

Our Hoover bus drivers deserve our gratitude.

NOTE: The two sources of information about the number of bus drivers are (1) reports all districts file with the Alabama State Department of Education, and (2) the personnel reports approved at each Hoover BOE meeting.