Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Minority-owned Southern businesses get back on their feet post-pandemic with a fund's help; President Biden says don't panic over the new COVID variant; and eye doctors gauge the risk of dying from COVID.


U.S. Senate is back in session with a long holiday to-do list that includes avoiding a government shutdown; negotiations to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal resume; and Jack Dorsey resigns as CEO of Twitter.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Better Pay, Community Trust Linked to School Bus Driver Shortage


Wednesday, September 8, 2021   

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- Iowa school districts are reporting bus driver shortages as the academic year gets underway. Transportation officials said more earning potential, and a broader appreciation of the job, could help address the lingering issue.

In a new national survey from a trio of industry groups, 51% of coordinators described the driver shortage as "severe" or "desperate."

Rex Kozak, transportation director for the Marshalltown Community School District, said he is short nine drivers to start the year, forcing route alterations. He noted while it is often viewed as a job for retirees, it is still hard to recruit most people given the limited hours.

"You know, somebody said, 'Well, we pay $21.25 an hour. Well, that's good money.' Well, yeah, but you've only got three hours of it," Kozak acknowledged.

Kozak pointed out the business community could help by giving more flexibility to people who want to work two jobs. Others argued school districts or private companies should guarantee more hours and benefits.

National associations contended the problem has persisted for years, but is worse now with some drivers quitting over COVID health concerns, or not coming back after furloughs.

Industry groups added the pandemic caused delays for people to obtain their commercial driver's license (CDL), and there is anecdotal evidence of some bus drivers not wanting to comply with mask requirements.

Woody Harden, transportation director for Washington Community Schools, feels it still mainly comes down to compensation.

"I think school districts need to start looking at ways to combine positions to give possible applicants more hours," Harden urged.

Meanwhile, roughly a quarter of respondents cited public perception as a recruitment barrier.

Kozak feels in a more mobile society, it's harder for local communities to establish trust with route drivers, to make them feel more appreciated on the job.

"Drivers really do care about these kids that they're taking to school," Kozak remarked.

Kozak stressed new entry-level federal training requirements for CDL drivers begin in February, which could complicate matters. He stated it is another reason better incentives could compel more people to apply.

get more stories like this via email
The proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge is key habitat to the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly. (Eric Porter/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


HEMET, Calif. -- Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath …

Social Issues

PRINCETON, Minn. -- President Joe Biden is expected to visit Minnesota today to tout passage of the new federal infrastructure bill. Those working …

Health and Wellness

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Advocates for access to mental-health services are holding a Behavioral Health Summit today at the Augusta Civic Center. They are …

Experts say eye exams do more than just help patients find the right prescription for glasses. (Dario Lo Presti/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Eye exams can help determine your risk of dying from COVID, according to experts, because optometrists are often the first …

Health and Wellness

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In a few weeks, Kentucky lawmakers will convene the General Assembly, and health advocates are calling for new policies to address …

Conservationists say the Recovering America's Wildlife Act could support improvements to water quality in the Ozarks, including the Buffalo National River. (Adobe Stock)


ST. JOE, Ark. -- More than a decade of restoration efforts in a section of Northern Arkansas' Ozark National Forest have led to 40 new species of …

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Legislature will consider three possible redistricting maps for the House and Senate when it meets for a special …

Social Issues

HOUSTON, Texas -- Minority-owned businesses across the South are benefitting from a program designed to help them get back on their feet post-…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021