Kanawha County working to recruit school bus drivers

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The start of a new school year is just around the corner and many school districts are scrambling to make sure they have enough bus drivers to get students to and from school.

CREDE, W. Va. – (WOWK) Throughout the school year parents trust bus drivers to keep their children safe. But across the country finding people willing to do the job is a challenge.

“Retention is a big issue,” said Kanawha County School Transportation Director Brett Fraley. “On a national level pupil transportation sees a 20 percent turn over.”

Fraley said there are several contributing factors including pay and student behavior. Right now Kanawha County is short six bus drivers. One driver resigned Monday morning to take another job.

“This year we are doing better than we were last year,” Fraley said. “But you never know, five people could walk up before school starts and resign.”

The county has stepped up recruitment efforts and they are offering more classes hoping to get more drivers signed up. But sometimes that is easier said than done.

“We have a lot of people that sign up for the classes, they just don’t come,” Fraley said. “The original class in June we had 19 people that signed up and only had six show up.”

When there aren’t enough people to drive the buses other employees have to cover. That puts a strain on daily operations.

“Our goal is to increase the number of subs and people we’ve got working to take the mechanics and the supervisors and the clerks off the road,” said Jimmy Lacy, Director of Training and Safety.

But as driver shortages continue students and their parents may notice the impact in the form of larger buses, combined routes and delays.

If you are interested in becoming a bus driver you can find out more about upcoming classes and the requirements for the job here.

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