VIRGINIA BEACH — As a new school year approaches Virginia Beach City Public Schools is looking to increase its bus driving staff.
The district — which typically has around 650 buses transporting students daily — announced Thursday that it is taking applications for at least 80 new bus drivers for the upcoming school year.
According to Cris Sprouse, area supervisor in the Office of Transportation Services, the need for a large number of drivers is not out of the ordinary as many drivers resign, move, or retire at the end of each school year.
As summer vacation hits the half-way point, he added, VBCPS is still in need of drivers for the coming school year.
“Historically, summer by summer, we are not in a worse place today than in summers past,” he said. “We are just not getting the number of interests coming in as we once did.”
Sprouse attributed the decline of interest in the position to the need for a commercial driver’s license along with concerns about child behavior and handling of a larger vehicle.
In order for applicants to be considered for the position, they must complete both classroom and behind-the-wheel training organized by the Office of Transportation Services and earn the commercial driver’s license.
The shortage of bus drivers is a nationwide issue, according to Sprouse.
“The public is getting a perception that kids are out of control, and they can’t imagine themselves driving a 36-foot-long vehicle with 42 children sitting behind them,” Sprouse said. “It’s a misconception because realistically, the bus drives [well]. Most people when they just give it an open mind and they get behind the wheel of a bus they say ‘oh my gosh … I can handle this better than I can my car.'”
Applications can be submitted online at the VBCPS website, while questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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