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Wisconsin school bus companies scramble to find drivers

School bus (Getty Images)

MADISON — Wisconsin school bus companies are struggling to find enough drivers before the start of the school year next month.

Most of the school buses used the state are privately contracted.

Steve Roekle, who owns the Manitowoc-based Brandt Buses, told Wisconsin Public Radio that there’s a high bar to becoming a school bus driver.

The job requires a commercial driver’s license. Drivers also must undergo rigorous drug testing and background checks, a physical exam and a motor vehicle driver’s history check. Those requirements limit the pool of viable candidates.

Roekle says the state’s aging population is also contributing to the shortage, as baby boomers are now semi-retired. Some districts have resorted to cutting bus service or combining routes due to a lack of drivers.

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