It feels like the school year just ended, but districts are preparing for students to return in the fall, which includes transportation departments.
Training for new school bus drivers is intense. More than 90% of districts report a driver shortage, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation.
For those who do have a Commercial Driver’s License, driving a bus isn’t usually the first choice. The job is usually split into two distinct day parts, and the pay isn’t as good as other CDL jobs.
The Liverpool School District is fortunate to have sufficient staffing, said Transportation Director Laura D'Arcangelis. She thinks the culture plays a big part in that.
“We appreciate our staff,” said D'Arcangelis. “We know how challenging the job is. I always say it is the hardest job in the district, but we appreciate what they do every day to keep our kids safe.”
On top of that, it’s becoming harder to get a CDL. Drivers need to have more mechanical knowledge than before. New CDL requirements go into effect next year for those looking to upgrade their license for the first time.
“We have an extensive training program, so our driver trainers start from the beginning with our new trainees, once they have their permit,” said D'Arcangelis. “They practice intensely to get their driver’s license.”
Liverpool trains its drivers for free. The district is accepting applications for substitute bus drivers and bus attendants.