The Joint State Government Commission recently released its report and recommendations pursuant to House Resolution 15 regarding the school bus driver shortage in Pennsylvania.
The recommendations include these actions:
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should establish a new school-bus-specific commercial drivers license (CDL).
- The state transportation subsidy to school districts should be reviewed and revised.
- There should be a reduction in the current distance that public schools are required to transport students who live within district boundaries but attend non-public schools up to 10 miles outside the districts' boundaries.
- The state subsidy for nonpublic pupil transportation should be increased and include an automatic inflationary increase to the subsidy in subsequent years.
- School bus cameras should be installed to the full extent currently allowed and PennDOT should permanently change regulations to allow for mid-cabin camera placement.
- Contractors and school districts should offer better salary and benefits to attract and retain school bus drivers.
- The PA Department of Education (PDE) should gather data on the number of homeless students' districts are required to transport and the number of miles they're being transported.
- School districts should provide actionable policies regarding student behavior on buses that hold the administration, parents, and students accountable. Direct districts to implement annual training for bus drivers to help them learn how to address behavioral issues on school buses.