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Bend-La Pine Schools, short of bus drivers, hosting test drive, hiring events

(Update: Adding video, news release, comment from Bend-La Pine Transportation Director)

Early retirees put the squeeze on key position

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend-La Pine Schools is giving you the chance to try before you apply ... to be a school bus driver.

Due to a shortage of bus drivers for the upcoming school year, when most students are expected to return to in-person learning and need transportation again, Bend-La Pine Schools is hosting School Bus Test Drive events on July 14, 21 and 28.

The events are for people interested in test-driving the bus before signing up and applying.

“We’re just looking for new people who want to work with kids,” Transportation Director Kim Crabtree told NewsChannel 21 on Monday.

She said the district saw a high number of early retirees last year, something she added was a trend around the state.

“We need 36 drivers, and we can often cover our shortages with office staff, but we don’t have that kind of office staff,” Crabtree said.

The events will consist of a short test drive through a course at the Transportation Administration's bus depot on Second Street in Bend.

And of course, the drives will be supervised.

If feel like you want the job, you can apply at the event. All you need is a good driving record and valid Oregon driver license. The district will provide all of the training.

The school district also mailed out post cards to the community, seeking full- and part-time bus drivers, offering $20 an hour and up to start and to help with training for those needing a Commercial Driver's License.

Crabtree, a former driver herself, said the opportunity is worth it.

“You really get to build relationships with kids," she said. "You see them every morning and every afternoon.”

More information is available at:

News release:

Drive a School Bus


Article Date: Jul 13, 2021

Community members are invited to test drive a school bus on an obstacle course, enjoy a free BBQ lunch and get a job interview on the spot during several upcoming interactive transportation job fairs in Bend and La Pine:

Bend Event:
Wednesdays, July 14, July 21 and July 28
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

501 SE Second Street, Bend

La Pine Event:
Wednesdays, July 21 and July 28
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

La Pine Middle School

Wages start at $20 per hour for regular drivers and on-the job, paid training is provided to new hires looking to obtain or renew a Commercial Driver’s License. Drivers who work 4-hours or more each day receive a monthly medical, dental and vision insurance contribution of more than $1,200. Additionally, drivers earn an annual IRA-like benefit and PERS benefits.

“School bus drivers get the chance to make a positive difference in the lives of kids every day, plus they get to be part of an incredible and supportive team,” said Kim Crabtree, Transportation Director for Bend-La Pine Schools.

Author Profile Photo

Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.



  1. They are competing with Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam has unlimited printed money to pay people not to work. What does Bend LaPine SD have?

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