GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Stephanie Alsbrooks has worked with the Guilford County School System as a bus driver for 14 years.
“I love kids,” Alsbrooks said. “I love what I do. It’s a passion and I’m here to get all these buses knocked out before the beginning of the school year.”
She’s one of about 30 bus drivers working this summer, even though school is out.
“I am very dedicated and I am a hard worker,” Alsbrooks said. “We want to make sure we get these buses cleaned up and ready for the school year.”
Guilford County Schools is testing out a new program. They’re hiring bus drivers to deep-clean the roughly 750 buses used during the school year.
In past years, bus drivers have been responsible for cleaning their own buses and turning them in at the end of the school year. However, Guilford County Schools Transportation Director Jeff Harris has decided to take a new approach to getting the buses thoroughly cleaned.
“The students will get on the bus and have a clean place to sit, and we are going to do our best to maintain the clean buses throughout the year,” Harris said. “If this whole wash cycle works out this summer, we’ll continue to do it. It’s a great cost savings to the district for us to do the work ourselves.”
The school system is spending about $54,000 out of their budget to pay bus drivers and to purchase the equipment needed. Going to a commercial site to get the buses cleaned could cost $300,000, Harris said. This program gives employees the opportunity to work this summer and receive additional income.
Workers come in from 7 a.m. until noon to clean. They clean about 100 buses a week.
Harris says washing the buses also extends the life of the paint.
In addition to cleaning the buses, they are going through inspection to make sure they’re safe for students when they start school next month.