As school districts across the state struggle with a bus driver shortage, Gov. Kathy Hochul this week called for a provision to lift the earning cap for retired education workers.
The move could help address an acute shortage of bus drivers and other school personnel as district officials have struggled to return to in-classroom instruction since the fall.
Republican state Sen. Mike Martucci had introduced a similar measure to Hochul's proposal to lift the earning caps earlier last year.
“New York’s schools continue to face major shortages of school bus drivers and the industry has forecasted that the problem will only get worse going into next year,” Martucci said. “The state’s retirement earnings cap is a significant impediment to retirees who want to drive a school bus and it’s clear something needs to be done to allow our school districts to hire these folks."
School districts, like virtually every organization in the public and private sectors, are struggling with a work shortage two years into the pandemic. Most recently, schools in the city of Albany closed to in-person instruction because of a lack of bus drivers.
More than two million children in New York ride a yellow school bus each day to school, according to the New York Association for Pupil Transportation.
“Driving a school bus is one of the most important jobs in our state and we are struggling to find enough school bus drivers to do the job each day,” said David Christopher, the group's executive director. “Attracting additional school bus drivers into the workforce is good for school districts and private operators. We believe that lifting the retirement cap is an important step toward solving this problem.