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Bus driver shortage in Kanawha County


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A good economy makes for headaches in the government sector trying to retain employees. Kanawha County Schools are seeing a serious shortage of bus drivers after many resigned just as the school year was about to begin. They’ve taken other jobs according to Kanawha County School Transportation Director Brett Fraley.

“Many of the drivers with CDL’s can go elsewhere and make more money, considerably more in some instances,” said Fraley.

The loss has put the county in a difficult position. Right now the Elkview bus garage has 15 driver vacancies. The sprawling area from Clay to Kanawha City includes over 100,000 miles of routes in a months time., currently being handled by 33 drivers. Fraley said there are some supplements helping to cover the shortfall.

“We have about eight multi-class employees,” said Fraley. “An electronic tech, mechanic, or somebody other than a primary job bus operators are currently helping us to get kids to school.”

It’s not by any means an ideal situation. Fraley confessed a lot of the mechanics don’t want to be drivers and he’d rather have mechanics under the hood instead of behind the wheel. However, until the classes are completed and the newly hired bus drivers are completely trained, they’ll have to pull double duty.

“Hopefully the sooner the better,” he said. “Usually it’s one to two months after the class ends that we’ll start seeing people added and getting their certification from the state.”

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