By Josephine E. Moore, The Register-Herald
BECKLEY, W.Va. — Raleigh County Schools bus driver and West Virginia House Delegate Christopher Toney, R-Raleigh, said Raleigh County Schools is canceling four to five bus routes daily due to a critical bus driver shortage.
“This is the first year we’ve canceled so many runs,” Toney said. “Last year, we canceled one periodically, but it wasn’t as prevalent as it is now … The problem we have is not only here in Raleigh County – we seem to have the most numbers – but it’s all throughout the state and throughout the nation.”
Officials with the Raleigh County Schools District are addressing a bus driver shortage by implementing a new policy allowing retired bus drivers to serve as substitute bus drivers during critical shortages without impacting their retirement benefits.
During a Raleigh County Board of Education meeting Tuesday, board members voted to put the new policy, titled C.3.9 Substitute Bus Drivers in Areas of Critical Need and Shortage, out on a 30-day comment period.
Toney said the policy results from recently passed state legislation that allows counties to employ retired bus operators as critical needs substitutes on an expanded basis.