Some 23 million students get up each morning in America and catch the school bus to transport them to school. For the person behind the wheel, the responsibilities are great and don't just involve the driving of the bus. Unfortunately, in many school districts around the country, including Quincy School District 172, there is a shortage of school bus drivers.

The District is actively looking for new drivers, so we took the opportunity to interview Dan Bartelt, the School Bus Driver Training Director for District 172, and asked him just what is involved in becoming a Bus Driver for the School District.

"The hours are a great thing for folks that don't want to work a full-time job, and want to have a schedule very similar to what their kids are doing," said Bartelt. "What we're looking for are people with people skills, people that can work with a wide range of people, including pre-K, little ones, 3-4 years old, and of course you're also working with administrators, teachers ... so it's a wide spectrum of individuals you'll be dealing with."

Bartelt says that applicants will go through a few standard screening processes, and will need to get a CDL. "Background checks, medical checks, drug testing, which is standard. You have to have what's called a Commercial Driver's License, a CDL, it's a Class B based on the weight of the vehicle. There's extensive testing before you can be graduated from the training program. I can tell you that almost every trainee will say near the end of the training, 'I had no idea how much goes into school bus driving,' because there's first aid, there's emergency evacuation, there's all kinds of peripheral things you need to know in addition to driving the bus and working with children."

To apply to become a school bus driver for the Quincy School District 172, go to www.qps.org. You can also call the Transportation Office at 224-5910.