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Finding Drivers For School Buses

State education officials express concern regularly about the shortage of qualified teachers in West Virginia public schools. But there is another insufficiency, and in a critical way, it is much more worrisome.

During a discussion Tuesday of problems involving a Brooke County school bus, a shortage of men and women to drive buses was cited.

Twice this year, children who did not show up for school were granted excused absences because there were no buses to take them there, Superintendent Toni Shute said.

School transportation director Ron Staffileno confirmed it has become difficult to find people to drive school buses. “Locally, a lot leave for the gas and oil companies,” he explained. “You can make twice as much driving a water truck and you don’t have to handle 70 kids.”

Other county school systems in our area have reported similar challenges.

What, if anything, can state officials do about that? They should be looking into the issue. Teacher shortages are a legitimate worry — but ensuring good, safe drivers are available for our school buses is astronomically more important.

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