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It’s that time of year again – already! And the same concerns are cropping up again this year. Where are we going to find school bus drivers to run the routes?
Districts with more than 50 million children are worried how they will get these children to and from school. The country has a shortage of school bus drivers which 22 percent of private bus contractors call “severe”, according to a recent survey by School Bus Fleet Magazine. According to the survey, five percent of school bus contractors are “desperate” to find drivers.
Why a shortage? The director of transportation for the Douglas County school district in Colorado stated that school bus driving is not as attractive a job as it may have been recently. “The economy is better so people are going back to jobs they had done previously or they find the need to stay at home,” Donna Grattino told ABC News Denver affiliate KMGH.
The Denver-area district still needs at least 40 more drivers and is considering enlisting stay-at-home parents to fill the gap by allowing them to bring their preschool age children with them on the job. But becoming a bus driver can take time. The process of getting a commercial drivers license, drug tests, background checks, and training can take up to 12 weeks. According to School Bus Fleet Magazine, the average pay nationwide for school bus drivers is $16.90 an hour, up from $16.24 in 2016.