Virginia's House Bill 351 would require the state superintendent of public instruction to identify school systems with critical shortages and allow them to hire school retirees to drive while keeping their retiree pay. File photo courtesy Hanover County (Va.) Public Schools

Virginia's House Bill 351 would require the state superintendent of public instruction to identify school systems with critical shortages and allow them to hire school retirees to drive while keeping their retiree pay. File photo courtesy Hanover County (Va.) Public Schools

RICHMOND, Va. — A bill to amend current legislation aims to mitigate the state’s school bus driver shortage by allowing school systems in critical need of drivers to hire school retirees to drive while keeping their retiree pay.

House Bill 351 requires the state superintendent of public instruction to survey all school divisions in the state to identify critical shortages of teachers and administrative personnel such as bus drivers, and report the shortages to each division and the Virginia Retirement System. The state would then allow school systems with driver shortages to hire school retirees as bus drivers while they still receive their service retirement allowance.

The bill, which was introduced by Delegate Robert B. Bell, does include restrictions: the retiree needs to have received the retirement allowance for a certain period of time (the specific period is not currently stated in the bill), and the retiree cannot be receiving a retirement benefit from an early retirement incentive program.

House Bill 351 is being proposed to amend current legislation to address school bus drivers and school bus driver shortages in the state. It was prefiled on Jan. 1 and offered on Wednesday, according to the Virginia General Assembly’s website.

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