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Introducing Your New Bus Driver: Mom and Dad

Meanwhile, one school district will force many kids to walk
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2021 8:08 AM CDT
With Lack of School Bus Drivers, Parents Are Getting Paid
Heather Parra and Gissel Martinez hop off the bus to begin eighth-grade at Homestake Peak School in Eagle Vail, Colo., on Monday.   (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

(Newser) – Schools in many states are having a hard time finding school bus drivers—to the extent that one school is offering to pay parents who drive their kids. The EastSide Charter School in Wilmington, Del., is offering $700 per year for each child that is dropped off and picked up. For example, "if you have 3 children we would give you $2,100," the notice reads, per CBS News. Parents of 155 of the school's 500 students have signed on, per the Washington Post. The school will still provide bus transportation for students who need it. The Chesterfield, Va., school district is also asking parents to drive their kids to school, without compensation, due to a shortage of 100 bus drivers. Meanwhile, a Vermont school district is offering a $1,000 bonus for school bus drivers who remain on the job for a year and a Connecticut district is offering a $3,000 bonus to experienced drivers, per CBS.

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Pittsburgh Public Schools has told more than 800 students that they'll need to walk to school due to a shortage of 426 drivers, per the Post. "I feel like they’re asking a kid to get snatched," the mother of one such student, a 6-year-old, tells KDKA. "Typically there have been bus driver shortages at the beginning of the school year during the last few years, but the pandemic exacerbated that," National School Transportation Association executive director Curt Macysyn tells CBS. She notes some drivers fear contracting COVID-19, some retired during the pandemic, and others were lured away by trucking companies, whose ranks expanded while many schools were closed for in-person learning. To stay competitive, one New York business recently offered a $2,000 signing bonus and a $27 hourly rate for school bus drivers. Around $16 an hour is typical, per CBS. (Read more drivers stories.)

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