Michigan schools struggle to find bus drivers

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Some schools in Michigan are having a hard time hiring enough bus drivers to take students to school. The problem revolves around not enough hours and too small of a salary.

Mac Dashney of the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation says low unemployment rates, job competition, and the fear of driving a large vehicle are all reasons for not having enough school bus drivers in Michigan.

“We lose a lot of drivers because of their options to work in other transportation areas and not everybody is cut out to be a school bus driver,” said Dashney.

Dashney says once a driver gets their commercial license, they have an opportunity for better and higher paying jobs.

“Until we start offering more hours and better wages, that’s always going to be a level of competition,” said Dashney.

“Bus drivers are typically the very first school employee that a child is going to encounter in their day,” said Scott Little, Associate Executive Director of the Michigan School Business Officials.

Little says multiple school transportation directors have had to fill in driving because of not having enough people to do the job.

“Getting kids to school is a crucial element into getting them educated,” said Little.

Dean Transportation hires school bus drivers with no experience and trains them up to speed. Human Resources Supervisor Patrick Harrison says the ideal driver has to have an overall love for what they do.

“What’s really important is the attitude, wanting to be able to serve the community, and serve the students that we transport,” said Harrison.

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