Recently it has been reported in the local news that there is a statewide shortage of school bus drivers. My question concerning the shortage of school bus drivers is, why?
Another question is, just how important is school bus driving as an occupation to our school community? I would think it is very important.
I heard on the news that what may attract new drivers to the job may be that parents could drive their own kids to school if they became school bus drivers themselves. Really? I don’t know too many parents in their 20s, 30s and 40s that would be interested in driving their own kids to school as a full-time occupation. That is an idea from the past.
Let’s be realistic about the school bus driving occupation. It is a difficult professional job that requires specific training and licensing. Once a driver is trained and licensed and begins working, it takes several years before a driver is a skilled school bus driver.
A school bus driver develops many skills including the skillful handling of a large vehicle with extra distractions, child management, psychology, parent and teacher interactions and a huge safety responsibility.
I think it’s time we think about this and realize that the real answer is to improve incentives for people to drive school busses by treating them as the professionals that they are and paying them accordingly.
When I ask anyone why they do not want to be a school bus driver, they tell me that the responsibility is too great, and the split shift is too difficult to work. They could never imagine doing that job.