EAST STROUDSBURG -- With a new school year about to begin, many school districts across the country are facing a shortage of bus drivers.
Transportation officials at East Stroudsburg School District say they have more than a dozen open positions for school bus drivers this year.
In fact, the district is hosting a bus driver training class Wednesday in the hopes of adding more drivers before the new school year begins in just a few weeks.
More than 100 bus drivers filled the room inside East Stroudsburg Area School District's transportation center.
The group is getting training on the district's new propane buses.
Lorraine Cavanaugh has been a bus driver for almost 18 years.
"There is a lot of work that goes into it," said driver Lorraine Cavanaugh. "You have to pass tests. You have to get clearances, and you have to learn how to drive a huge vehicle, a 40-foot vehicle."
East Stroudsburg Area School District is one of many schools across the country facing a bus driver shortage.
The district has 120 full-time positions, but only 106 are filled.
Officials also want to fill about 10 sub positions and are even working with the school board to try and offer those subs more money.
"We are a little lean this year," said Robert Sutjak, director of transportation. "We had six drivers retire this past year, our older drivers, and it's getting increasingly hard to replace drivers as they retire."
Transportation directors tell Newswatch 16 driver shortages aren't just here, they are everywhere, and when you don't have enough people to put behind the wheel, it makes getting busloads of kids to school difficult.
"When we have a driver shortage for a day, we have to pull a bus, one or two, to do another run and load those buses to the max to move our drivers around so we can meet the demand," Sutjak explained.
Claudia Marx has been a bus driver for 18 years. She has seen firsthand how the driver shortage has taken a toll on workers.
"It makes it difficult. We are all trying to do the same thing, get the kids to school on time and that gets difficult when there is a shortage, absolutely," Marx said.
The district is offering a 14-hour bus training class starting Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.