Bus drivers revving their engines

POULSBO — Despite school being out for summer, the wheels on the bus continued to go round and round for nearly a dozen bus drivers at the North Kitsap School District.

NKSD Transportation Director Ron Lee said 10 bus drivers offered to transport students to and from summer school sessions from July 9 to Aug. 9. During the school year, the district has close nearly 70 drivers on the road.

“They were out there four days a week for four weeks,” he said. “I was glad so many of the drivers were willing to come back and work during the summertime. Every year drivers step up. We couldn’t do it without them. They’re quality people that make a difference in the lives of kids.”

Lee said some drivers pick up students at their homes.

“Many of the students enrolled in summer school are special needs students and each special needs student is picked up on a door-to-door basis,” he said. “Other students enrolled in summer school are picked up at the closest elementary school to where they live.”

NKSD Transportation Specialist Amy Geil said summer school sessions took place at Poulsbo Elementary School and Poulsbo Middle School.

Summer bus driver Rod Amend has driven for the NKSD for 13 years and said he especially enjoys driving during the summer months.

“Driving in the summer isn’t that great of demand on your time,” he said. “It doesn’t interfere with most of my summer activities. It’s not really a big choice. I like driving in the summer.”

Indianola resident and fellow summer driver Steve Swearingen drove routes for the second consecutive summer this year.

“I love working with kids and this gives me an opportunity to do that,” he said. “It also gives me a little extra money that I can use to make improvements to my home.”

Swearingen said he enjoys driving a smaller bus during the summer. He picked up five riders each day of summer school.

“During the school year I normally drive the big buses,” he said. “It’s nice to get a break and work with younger kids in the developmental stages. It gives me a more rounded view of all of the schools.”

Swearingen said he made the career switch to the transportation field after the Port Gamble Mill he worked at for 20 years closed down in 1995.

“I was looking to make a career change. I wanted to get on the same schedule as my children so I could spend more time with them,” he said. “Being a bus driver here (NKSD) has worked out great for me. I have driven to so many different places and seen so many events.”

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