House Bill 2346 addresses a continued critical need and shortage of school bus drivers.
David Baber, state director of Transportation with the West Virginia Department of Education, said the recently passed legislation lifts the 140 day maximum limit for bus driver retirees who have returned to work. He said many returning retirees quit working after 140 days, leaving school systems in a bind.
“If they had those folks in a long term position, then they had to scramble to refill it again. When bus drivers aren’t available, students can’t get to extracurricular activities or worse, to class.” Baber said. “Under this new bill, that shouldn’t happen in the future.”
Baber said returning school bus drivers must go through the normal tests and requirements, and in some instances, pass a six hour refresher course.
“The retirees who have come back, depending on the length of time that they’ve been out of service are also required to go through some refresher training,” Baber said. “A minimum of six hours of training behind the wheel and some classroom to make sure that they’re up to date on any changes in policies or procedures.”
He said there is still a statewide shortage of school bus technicians and mechanics.
“We’re doing everything we can to help remedy that,” Baber said. “But the people just aren’t out there.”