WEST VIRGINIA (WOWK) — A few counties are now trying to beat the clock with hiring school bus drivers before the start of the school year and fix a reoccurring issue in West Virginia.
“Last year we had to run 4 bus runs. We did 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. That caused us problems with substitute drivers being able to cover routes,” says Charles Towner the Director of Transportation and Safety for Mason County.
Towner says this issue may finally be turning around as interest appears to be peaking. He says they “…currently have 11 people in training which is really one of the biggest classes in the last 5 years.”
However, even with 11 drivers in training, only 2 will start off the school year driving.
The others will complete their training and start later in the year.
One problem that often creates the shortage is the inability to pay drivers during their 2-to-4-month training period. And that seems to be an issue across the state.
“For the past few years, it’s been difficult to maintain a full roster of bus drivers. Fortunately, as we’re ready to start this year, we do have a full roster,” says Todd Alexander the Superintendent for Wayne County.
He also says although they have a full roster, they are still looking to fill substitute positions to cover vacations or illnesses.