School Board Backs Bill For Bus Drivers

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  BRICK – Members of the Brick Township Board of Education recently voted to support a bill allowing Type S school buses as the struggle to find school bus drivers continues.

  The goal of the bill is to help with the current hiring crisis, allowing drivers without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate small school vehicles that can carry a maximum of nine passengers.

  All school bus drivers are required to obtain a “Type S” license in New Jersey, which consist of all the requirements of a traditional bus driver. In addition, the state requires them to also get at commercial license as well.

  The bills, S-3203 and A-4835, were introduced last year and were approved by their respective committees. The bills propose that “Type S” drivers can forego the CDL.

  “Our hope is that we could potentially get more drivers, because we’re short, if we were able to only require the Type S endorsement, which they have already, and not require the CDL for a 10-passenger vehicle of less,” school district Business Administrator James Edwards said.

  “The CDL requirements require under-the-hood expertise on engines, things that bus drivers, someone who is driving a 10-passenger vehicle doesn’t need to know,” Edwards added.

  During the public comment portion of the May 11 meeting, State Assemblyman John Catalano, who previously served as a Councilman for Brick, brought up his concerns about the bill and said he does not support it.

  “I am not voting for it at this moment,” Catalano said. “I want to discuss this bill with the other Assembly people who are the co-sponsors to it.”

  Catalano did not go into detail about his concerns, but questioned what kind of testing a bus driver must go through in ordered to be licensed.

  “When it is finalized, if some of my concerns are not met, obviously I will not be voting for it in its present state. If we could come to some agreement, that would be the best things for Brick Township and our Transportation Department,” Catalano added.

  After public comment, members of the board unanimously voted to support the bill.