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Education

Pennsylvania is recruiting school bus drivers amid a statewide shortage

school bus education pennsylvania pittsburgh teachers students public schools drivers classroom.jpeg
Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is mailing 375,000 holders of commercial driver's licenses in a recruitment campaign meant to address a shortage of school bus drivers, officials said Thursday.

The state has a little more than 42,000 school bus drivers, the smallest complement in five years and about 2,000 fewer than in 2017.

The Department of Transportation will mail all current CDL holders about the need for bus drivers and inform them how they can get the right endorsement to operate a school bus, said Kurt Myers, PennDOT's deputy secretary for driver and vehicle services.

The state is hoping to address the shortage by appealing to drivers looking for work or seeking to supplement their income.

“We want to do everything we possibly can to expand the number of individuals with school bus endorsements to be able to get our children to school. That's the critical part of all of this," Myers said.

Schools across the nation are facing driver shortages, and many Pennsylvania districts are impacted, Myers said.

PennDOT will also temporarily offer another day of CDL skills testing per week. The additional testing days will be held on Mondays for four consecutive weeks beginning Oct. 18.

Myers spoke at an online news conference about the state’s efforts to keep schools open for in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.