LAPS Superintendent José Delfin speaks with employees of the LAPS Transportation Department, from left, Delfin, Transportation Director Keith Rosenbaum, Frank Marshall (school bus assistant) and drivers Rosalie Hammo and Malia Goddard. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
Superintendent José Delfin, left, chats with Transportation Director Keith Rosenbaum. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post
When Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Superintendent José Delfin interviewed for his job in January, he toured the narrow, twisted roads of the town.
“How do the bus drivers do it?” he said during an interview, “They must have super powers! I’ve got to meet them!”
When he took up his job, one of his first stops was the LAPS Transportation Department where he met with drivers, school Bus Assistants and the administrative staff, including Director of Transportation Keith Rosenbaum.
“I was in charge of transportation in my old job,” Delfin said. “I have an affinity for diesel!”
Delfin expressed his admiration for the entire transportation team.
“Keith’s people love him and he loves them,” he said. “They’re a really good team.”
Delfin stressed that the School District is always looking for bus drivers, substitute drivers and school bus assistants.
It’s a great team to work with and they all pitch in,” Delfin said. “Keith has to drive nearly every day. He loves it, but with his other duties sometimes he needs to be doing other things.”
Rosenbaum has worked at the District about 15 years.
“I enjoy the interaction with the students and the employees,” he said. “I also enjoy the challenge of creating the routes. This job is my passion. It’s a fun place to be.”
The school year got off to a bit of a rough start, Rosenbaum said. Someone rear-ended a bus and there was one other fender bender type accident. But the main problem the Transportation Department encounters is drivers who don’t stop for the bus when the stop sign arm is out and the lights are flashing.
“We’ve had 50 stop sign runners so far this year,” he said. “We get calls almost every day. It’s one of my greatest concerns.”
In October, buses will have new cameras that can take video of drivers and their license plate numbers. A second offense can result in loss of one’s drivers license as well as a fine for each offense, Rosenbaum said.
Getting onboard as a driver isn’t that easy. Drivers must get a commercial drivers license and then undergo 40 hours of training at the LAPS Transportation Dept.
“When training is complete, we want the drivers to be confident and competent,” Rosenbaum said. “Our number one concern is safety, not only for the students, but for the public.”
Pay is competitive and those who choose to work 15 or more hours are eligible for full benefits, he said.
There’s more to being a driver than handling the bus.
“A good bus driver likes children and has a good sense of humor,” Rosenbaum said. “We’re looking for people who can remain lighthearted. The best drivers are those who don’t HAVE to drive the bus. They GET to drive the bus!”
Rosenbaum said word of mouth often brings in the best drivers and school bus assistants.
“People like working here and they let others know they can do this job if they learn the skills,” he said.
School Bus Assistants are also an important part of the team.
“We have five routes that transport students with special needs each day,” Rosenbaum said. “The school bus assistant is the person that has the most contact with the students on their bus.They help the students ride safely by directing them to or placing them in their seat; ensuring they are riding safely; and redirect them if there is a personal struggle on the bus. The connections they make with the students help to establish an enjoyable atmosphere while going to and from school. The contribution they make to the team is immeasurable and allows the driver to concentrate on safely operating the bus. In addition, the school bus assistant helps special needs students establish a pleasant connection with the school bus throughout the time they attend school.”
If a career as a bus driver, assistant or substitute driver might be for you, Delfin and Rosenbaum urge you to contact Rosenbaum at 505.663.2255 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what it’s all about. Or talk to a bus driver about why they love their job! Find additional information here: laschools.net/careers/.