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Bus driver shortage poses a challenge for area school districts

The shortage is steering East Stroudsburg Area School District to offer more CDL classes to help more folks get behind the wheel.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — East Stroudsburg Area School district is pulling out all the stops to get more bus drivers behind this wheel this fall.

Ed Lebar is one of them.

"It just seems to be getting worse as the years go on, and each year it's harder and harder to get drivers to come in," said Ed Lebar, a bus driver and instructor at East Stroudsburg Area School district.

When Lebar isn't driving, he is training others how to.

The shortage is steering the district to offer more CDL classes to help folks get the training they need to transport kids to and from school.

"We're only charging $60 for a 14-hour course, where it's in class, and then once you pass your physical and pass your permit, you come back to us," Lebar said. "It's one-on-one training, for six hours minimum, and then you're behind the wheel driving, and you can have everything done in a month or so."

The bus driver shortage isn't the only speed bump the school district will have to navigate through this year. With students both learning in the classroom and online, the district is having to re-work its route plans to adjust.

"Every school year, you will have a few delays at the very beginning of the first few days, but our drivers should be able to handle what is put upon them. We should not see a huge decrease in the amount of students that do not have the transportation that is needed. We will get everyone to school on time," said Jennifer Butz, an East Stroudsburg Area School District dispatcher.

A federal mandate requires students to wear masks on the school bus.

If you are interested in becoming a bus driver, click here.

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