Country facing shortage in school bus drivers

(Source: WNEM)

As the new school year quickly approaches, many districts are worried about how they will get those students to school.

Across the nation districts are seeing a shortage of school bus drivers. Some contractors call the situation "desperate."

"Most definitely there's a driver shortage for school bus drivers nationwide," said Rob Bradley, location manager for Saginaw Public Schools.

He said the shortage comes as no surprise to him because interest in becoming a driver has plummeted over the years.

"I think the profession itself is short lived based on the schedule of the day. The split shift is more geared toward the retiree or maybe the homemaker. Someone that has school age kids is the type of people we're looking for. And the shortage is nationwide and Michigan is not immune to that," Bradley said.

While the need for bus drivers has increased the past few years, the benefits provided to them have not.

"Once you get licensed and skilled you look for better benefits. And you look for a better place to work or more money and the unemployment rate is obviously a factor. But more importantly, you got to know children," Bradley said.

Bradley said schools should be providing the necessary benefits drivers ask for, while the drivers themselves need to understand the demands of the job.

"Do more in terms of supporting them. Do more in terms of listening to them and valuing their input. But I can teach anyone how to drive a bus, that's the easy part. The hard part is teaching them to love the kids and respect the kids," Bradley said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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