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Cleburne Independent School district

Transportation » Requirements To Be A School Bus Driver

Requirements To Be A School Bus Driver


Requirements to Drive a Bus 

Welcome to Cleburne ISD. This information is provided to help you in the process and requirements of being able to drive a school bus for the district. We are here to help you. Please contact us any time you have a question. 


Contact Persons:

Tammy Rodriguez @ 817-202-2195 - trodriguez@c-isd.com

Mrs. Rodriguez will handle all documents and paperwork related to your file. She will schedule your certification class and can assist you with your physical/drug screen.

Angie Sandel @ 817-202-2190 - asandel@c-isd.com

Mrs. Sandel will handle your assignment to a trainer, coordinate your behind the wheel testing date and any questions related to your license.


 Items needed for completed file:

  • Driving record check
  • Current DOT physical and new employee drug screen
  • Current 20 hour bus driver certification
  • Behind-the-wheel training for non-CDL or non-P/S endorsement holders
  • CDL with P/S (passenger and school bus) endorsements
  • Driver evaluation
  • Current copies of all related forms and documents
  • Cleared by the director to operate a bus with students

We must have all required documents for your file for you to be able to drive. To start a file the transportation department must have a copy of your current D.L. and Social Security.


Acceptable driving record check

 A driver record check will be done now and at least annually. State rules for driver qualification will be followed. Any driver that does not meet state qualifications for eligibility will not be allowed to operate a district vehicle. Once you have a CD, state law requires written notification to your employer if you are involved in a traffic accident or receive a citation. Notification applies to any type of vehicle not just a commercial vehicle. Written notification is to be sent to the Director of Transportation.

Transportation must have a current copy of your driver license with appropriate endorsements.


 DOT Physical

To operate a school bus in Texas requires an individual to pass annually a DOT physical. The Transportation Department will pay for the physical. These are done through Family Medicine on Ridgeway in Cleburne. You are responsible for setting up the time for this. Do not have a physical performed until a Purchase Order has been issued by the District. Any physical done without a purchase order will be the responsibility of the employee. Contact Tammy Rodriguez for information and to allow time to have a purchase order issued. Check for verification of an issued PO before having the physical performed.

The physical must be completed prior to any behind-the-wheel training. An initial drug screen is to be performed with the first or pre-employment DOT Physical. Physical performed at locations other than Cleburne Family Medicine will be the financial responsibility of the employee.


 Drug Screen

All new employee to the district or current employees obtaining a CDL must have an initial Drug Screen before operating a school bus. The Drug Screen is done only with the first or pre-employment DOT physical. Subsequent DOT physical do not require a drug screen and are not to be performed. (See DOT physical)

A purchase order must be issued prior to an initial drug screen.  Check for verification of an issued PO before having an alcohol/drug screen performed.

All CDL holders are subject by law to random drug and or alcohol testing throughout the year. These are done without notice and participation is mandatory. An outside company manages the drug and alcohol program for the district. The costs for the random tests are covered by the district. When contacted an individual must make themselves immediately available. Failure to take a random drug screen is considered a positive test. District CDL holders are held to all aspects of drug and alcohol testing as prescribed by law and policy.


20 hour certification class 

The state of Texas requires a 20 hour bus driver certification class. These are held around the region at participating school districts. A driver must have completed the 20 hour course before they will be allowed to operate a district bus. Cleburne does not issue temporary permits. The only exception would be for a previously certified individual that has an expired certification. This exception is only at the discretion of the Transportation Director.

The certificate is up for renewal every 3 years and requires an 8 hour refresher course. A purchase order must be issued by the district before attending the course and is processed through the Transportation Department. The enrollment process is the same as that of the 20 hour class.

Transportation will make the registration for the 8 and 20 hour class and send you notification of enrollment.

If an employee fails to attend a course or cancels or changes venue less than 14 days before the class the district will still be billed.

The employee will be responsible for any rescheduling and payment for a reschedule course or class. The certification course can be taken at any time and is recommended to be taken as soon as one can be scheduled.


 Behind-the-wheel training

 A trainer will work on driving skills and prepare you for the driving test performed at a DPS mobile location. No behind-the-wheel training can take place off the facility until all sections of the written test have been passed and appropriate permit is issued.

 A current DOT physical and initial drug screen is also required, (ensure your P.O. is in place before going).  Contact Angie Sandel for a trainer assignment.

Training dates and times are to be worked out between you and the trainer.  Behind-the-wheel training will consist of at least 20 hours of drive time for drivers without a CDL.  Drivers with a CDL but missing the P/S endorsement will be required to have at least 15 hours of time behind the wheel.


CDL with passenger and school bus endorsement

A CDL handbook is available from the DPS office or on-line at: http://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/DL-7C.pdf  The Transportation tab on the district web page has training links to assist with the written test.

The CDL consist of 2 parts. All written license tests and a driving test that will include the pre-trip inspection. There are 9 sections applicable to the type of CDL needed to drive a school bus. The sections are 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 12, 13 and 14. They should not have to be taken at the same time but there is a time window for passing all sections. There are 5 written tests and 1 driving test that will consist of a 45 minute pre-trip inspection, 30 minute basic vehicle inspection (lights and air brake test), 30 minute parallel and off-set parking maneuvers tests and a 1 hour drive.



Commercial driver license (CDL)



Age 18 to 84: new


Expires in five years

Age 18 to 84: renewal


Expires five years after previous expiration date

Commercial Learners Permit - CLP




Expires 180 days from issuance



Must be renewed prior to expiration date


Test-1 is the Permit Test over Commercial Rules – Chapters 11 and 14.   This permit is good for 60 days. The permit allows you to drive with a trainer and no passengers. Failure to complete all the written test in the 60 day time frame will require the individual to start over.

Within 60 days the remaining 5 written test are to be taken. Any single test must be passed within three tries. If any single test cannot be passed in 3 tries all test will have to be retaken. An additional fee of $61.00 will have to be paid to start over. The district will only reimburse the license fee once.

A). General Knowledge –section 1, 2, 12, and 14

B.) Air Brakes- section 5 with information in section 2 and 6

C.) Passenger Bus-section 4

D.) School Bus-section 10

Once all of these tests are completed an appointment will need to be made with D.P.S. for the driving test at a regional testing facility.


A Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) will be issued to drivers who are applying to drive a commercial vehicle. A CLP must be held for a minimum of 14 days prior to being allowed to take a CDL skills test. This applies to original applicants, modifications in grade and adding endorsements which require a skills test.


Test-2. Pre-Trip/Drive Test: This will be over one of several areas to draw from; examiners will have a set of cards to choose from, these are your pre-trip testing areas; Full walk around with all lights, interior, brake tests, under the hood and chassis area, parallel parking and off-set parking as well as the driving test on the route designated by the examiners.  All of this will be taught by the trainers prior to testing.

A mobile unit is available for our area and will be coordinated with our Mobile Examiner.  These dates cannot be requested, they are at the availability of location and the amount of drivers (4 min.) necessary for testing.

The district will reimburse you for your CDL fees. You must have a purchase order in place prior to taking any of the tests if you want reimbursement.  Please contact Lisa Wallace, 817-202-2191 or lwallace@c-isd.com  to ensure you have a purchase order.

Renewals of your CDL will be reimbursed as long as you are driving for the district. Prior to the renewal submit a copy of your renewal notice so a purchase order can be issued.

Reimbursement will only be done if a proper purchase order is in place prior to renewing.   After renewal provide the Transportation Department a copy of the receipt and license.


Individuals already possessing a CDL

  Individuals already possessing a CDL but needing the P and S endorsements to drive a school bus will need to follow the same procedure for behind-the-wheel training.

The School Bus and Passenger endorsement requires a written test over chapters 4 and 10. A driving test with a DPS official will also be needed. A trainer will prepare the individual for the test and work on any skill improvement determined by the trainer.

The district will reimburse you for your CDL. You must have a purchase order in place prior to taking any of the tests if you want reimbursement. 

Check for verification of an issued PO before taking any test. The purchase order is processed through the transportation department.

Times for the driving test appointments are to be coordinated with the trainer to ensure there is a bus/trainer available for that time and date.

Individuals new to the district and already possessing a CDL with a P and S endorsement will be required to have a behind-the-wheel evaluation.

A trainer may deem that addition skill enhancement is needed. A trainer will not sign off until they are satisfied with the skill and performance of the driver.


Excepted and non-excepted license status

The requirement of the district is for a driver to be classified as excepted interstate. This will exempt the driver from having to send a copy of the yearly DOT physical to Austin. The driver will still be required to pass a yearly DOT physical. Licensed drivers will need to change their status if not already changed. It is imperative that the CDL-1 and CDL-10 form be filled out correctly. The Transportation office is available to provide guidance.


Behind-the-wheel evaluation

  After the CDL driving test has been passed the employee is to have a driver evaluation done. The evaluation will be done by a different trainer then the one that trained the employee. This trainer will note any area(s) that may still need to be addressed. New employees to the district already having a CDL with P/S endorsement will be required to have an evaluation.


Copies of documents

  The transportation Department must have on file copies of all related documents for the operation of a district bus. These include copies of

  • valid driver license with endorsements
  • current bus driver certification
  • current DOT physical
  • drug screen if new to driving for district
  • social security card
  • current driver record check
  • evaluation
  • Behind-the-wheel training documentation as applicable

Cleared by the Director

Once all requirements have been satisfactory met the Director of Transportation will sign off and approve the employee to operate a school bus with student passengers. The Director of Transportation has the finale authority for authorizing an employee to operate a district school bus.

If an employee fails to maintain driver eligibility they will not be allowed to operate a bus until the issue is resolved. Employees are subject to additional evaluations or training as deemed necessary. An approved driver is subject to be removed from driving eligibility if it is deemed warranted by the Transportation Director or is in the best interest of the district.