With the school year approaching, local divisions are hiring bus drivers

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The new school year is fast approaching, and that means school divisions across the region are hiring bus drivers.

"Right now, we are about 45-50 drivers down," David Pace, Executive Director of Transportation and Fleet Management Services for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo Monday. "It’s not a Virginia Beach problem; it’s a national problem - recruiting and retaining school bus drivers."

With about 630 contracted drivers each covering three to four routes, vacancies can create big headaches for a large transportation network like the one in Virginia Beach.

Pace says the perks, such as being able to bring your own pre-school aged children on the bus, thus eliminating the need for child care, and benefits will entice more people to be bus drivers.

Related: Virginia teachers get behind the wheel amid school bus driver shortage

"It’s a very rewarding job. Once you get driving a school bus and you start picking your children up, and like I say every one of my drivers say, 'These are my children,' it becomes a really heartwarming kind of job to have," Pace said.

Interested drivers must apply online and applicants will be contacted to participate in both classroom and behind-the-wheel training.

Applicants must  complete paid training and earn a Virginia commercial driver's license (CDL) before they are eligible to drive for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

Interested applicants can apply online here.

Chesapeake Public Schools is  looking to fill 21 bus driver vacancies out of 460 positions. Interested applicants can apply online at cpschools.com or attend hiring events at the Chesapeake Central Library on Wednesday, August 14 from 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. or on Thursday, August 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the South Norfolk Library.

Chesapeake is also offering signing bonuses for candidates. Those who work for six months and had a CDL Class B Passenger and School Bus Endorsement are eligible for a $500 bonus, while those who are non-CDL endorsed can earn a $250 bonus.

Newport News Public Schools is looking to fill 15 bus driver positions out of 340 budgeted jobs. Training is provided. Contracted drivers start at $14.82 an hour. You can apply online at www.nnpsjobs.com.

In Suffolk, there are 12 vacancies out of the allotted 135 bus driver positions.

People interested in driving can apply online here. There will also be job fairs on August 13th from 3pm-7pm at Creekside Elementary School and on August 23rd from 10am to 2pm at Kings Fork Recreation Center where Suffolk Public Schools will be recruiting for bus drivers.

Over in Portsmouth, there are 17 current bus driver vacancies out of 111 positions. Interested candidates are encourage to attend walk-in interviews on August 21st.

Hampton City Schools has 27 full-time bus driver vacancies out of 161 full-time positions. They expect having all routes covered at the start of the school year with the assistance of part-time drivers and substitutes.

All positions are hired year-round and interest applicants can apply here.

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