CONCORD, N.H. — Pupil transportation providers in the state are encouraging the Legislature to support a bill that includes measures intended to help alleviate the school bus driver shortage, New Hampshire Union Leader reports.

SB 566 would establish a commission to study the school bus driver shortage. The bill had initially been written to make it easier for school bus drivers and aides to qualify for unemployment benefits over the summer, but it was amended to gather more solutions to the shortage, the newspaper reports.

One instance of the challenge that driver shortage has presented in the state occurred at the Northwood School District at the start of the 2017-18 school year, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. School start times were delayed and classroom schedules were disrupted for months before the district had enough drivers.

Mark Raposo, the president of the New Hampshire School Transportation Association, told the newspaper that it would help if the state created a statewide certification program for school bus drivers.

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