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Bloomington Needs School Bus Drivers
Updated August 9, 2013 8:23 AM | Filed under: Education
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The new school year has uncovered new transportation problems for some school districts. It's not the buses, but rather a lack of drivers for them.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation officials say at the start of the school year the district is short 21 drivers.

Larry Sparks, school bus driver and certified trainer, says driving a school bus is the best part of his day however he's having a hard time convincing others to jump on board.

"You have to want to do it more than just for the money," says Sparks.

"Best case right now, we'll be into September before we can get most of the routes filled," says Gib Niswander, Director of Transportation.

He says the district has 21 routes with no drivers and now that school is back in session the district is scrounging to reach all their 8,000 kids in the county.

"It just was kind of a confluence of issues this year that stacked up. We were training drivers before school was out last year, but when it takes 40 hours to train it just takes a long time to replace a driver," says Niswander.

The director says it can take up to six weeks to get a driver licensed and says a lot of applicants end up backing out once they understand the job.

"A lot of people are intimidated by the bus, maybe intimidated by all the classes and the safety training they must complete. Some people are intimidated by the number of students they'll be transporting," says Niswander.

To add to the stress of being short drivers, Monroe County Community School Corporation also changed routes this year.

The Director of Transportation says all districts have qualified drivers to fill in and they're using those. Plus, some supervisors are driving.

He also says some of the drivers have to double up routes.

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