Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor today reminded school districts facing a shortage of bus drivers not to cut corners regarding driver background checks required by state law.
“Bus driver background checks help to keep Pennsylvania’s children safe,” DeFoor said. “School districts must make sure that every driver, regardless of whether the driver works for a contractor, has secured all required background clearances.”
DeFoor noted that his audit team checks to make sure driver background checks are valid and current when auditing school districts. School districts must also retain those records and not simply rely on transportation contractors to do so.
State law requires school districts, charter schools, intermediate units and area vocational-technical schools to have the following documentation on all bus drivers:
- Valid driver’s license with S-endorsement for operation of a school bus
- Annual physical examination
- Criminal Background Check (PA State Police)
- Federal Criminal History Record (FBI)
- Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
- Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form PDE 6004
Also, under state law, there is a recertification requirement for the state and federal background checks and the child abuse clearance every five years.
Schools nationwide are reporting difficulty finding bus drivers, a problem that may be related to the pandemic. Some Pennsylvania school districts have been forced to modify class schedules and adopt longer bus routes in an effort to address the problem.