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School bus driver shortage impacts local districts

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A typical day of waiting for the bus turned into a race against the clock for Tanisha Grimes and her two children who are students at Wayne County Schools.

Her children are used to waiting a few minutes. At times, though, they ended up waiting 30 minutes along Spring Valley Drive to be picked up Monday.

The bus driver responsible for their route had been out sick, and all of the district’s substitute bus drivers and school bus mechanics, who step in to help, had already been assigned to cover other routes.

“We had a driver do his run and then he went back to make sure those kids had a ride to school, so he went back and picked them up,” Superintendent Todd Alexander said.

Struggling to keep up with the lack of bus drivers, Alexander says the district is considering offering incentives.

In addition to passing a school bus driving test and getting a commercial driver’s license through the DMV, there is training that has to be completed. This training used to always be unpaid, but could now be compensated moving forward.

“It’s an opportunity for extra income and it’s a really rewarding career. We have drivers in the county that really have an impact on students’ lives,” Alexander said.

Anyone interested will first need to:

- Complete 40 hours of classwork.

- Pass a written test to get a school bus permit.

- Complete 12 hours of driving training on a school bus.

- Perform a driving test with a state instructor. If you pass, then you’ll get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) through the DMV, followed by a student endorsement and a passenger endorsement.

Lastly, you’ll train with a bus driver from Wayne County Schools for two days and get paid if the board approves it.

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