GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn — Wednesday in Minnesota is School Bus Driver Appreciation Day, where state leaders will celebrate drivers, but it comes at a time when many districts can't find enough of them.
State leaders say that a lack of school bus drivers often requires other district employees, such as mechanics or administrators, to drive buses. The shortages can also result in fewer or canceled field trips and afterschool activities.
Right now, Minnesota is facing its most significant school bus driver shortage in history. This issue will be the focus of a press conference in Golden Valley Wednesday morning. Speakers will bring attention to the crisis by sharing ways that school districts are recruiting and retaining school bus drivers, and touting the benefits of the profession.
"School bus drivers can be powerful mentors, as they often bookend a student's school day and make a positive influence on that child's educational experience," said Minnesota School Bus Operator's Association President Garrett Regan.
John Thomas, the head of the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation, says nearly every school district in the state is facing a bus driver shortage.