Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » It’s just a bill
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
It’s just a bill

Wednesday, Dec 1, 2021

* WICS TV

A new house bill (HB4230) would allegedly help solve the bus driver shortage in Illinois.

Currently, the law says anyone applying for a bus driver’s permit must have a driver’s license uninterrupted for three years prior.

Bill sponsor Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, said this bill changes that and allows for people who lost their licenses for circumstances unrelated to driving can still get their bus drivers permit.

“You know, with the bus driver shortage I think we need to do everything that we can to keep safe and friendly drivers in our school busses,” Rep. Davidsmeyer said.

I reached out to the secretary of state’s office to ask what sort of non-driving offenses could result in the loss of a license. Some of the examples I was given included failure to pay child support and fraud involving a driver’s license (like being caught with a fake ID or applying for a driver’s license in someone else’s name). There are also medical reasons, like suffering seizures, but licenses can be restored by obtaining a physician’s consent.

* No doubt this is needed. But maybe we as a state could help schools get to the recommended ratio of 1 counselor for every 250 students before moving to 1 for 150

A newly filed House bill hopes to get more counselors into Illinois’ schools.

Right now, state law says that districts may employ enough counselors to meet the recommended ratio of 1 counselor for every 250 students.

The new bill would mandate a counselor for every 150 students, and counselors would be required to meet with their students every month.

In the 2019-2020 school year, the statewide ratio was 1 counselor for every 592 students, according to the Illinois School Counselor Association.

This costs money, and the Illinois School Counselor Association’s executive director made that clear in his response to WICS

The ASCA national model recommends a 250:1 school counselor to student ratio. In 2019-2020, the school counselor to student ratio in Illinois was 592:1. We hope to engage Rep. Cyril Nichols, sponsor of HB 4208 to advocate for an increase in school counselors with the funding to support such a mandate.

Emphasis added.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - Now I'm down in it. - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 9:47 am:

    In most areas, bus drivers make very little money and have little to no access to benefits. Plus they get the privilege of dealing with disruptive kids and being the scapegoat if something happens on their route. Sounds like a raw deal to me. Change that and there will suddenly not be a “shortage”.


  2. - Nick - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 9:47 am:

    Suspending a license for failure to pay child support seems pretty counter-intuitive, honestly.


  3. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 9:48 am:

    Agree with the first comment. Maybe pay them better and make it a job where they don’t sit unpaid for part of the day and more people would want to do it.


  4. - Now I'm down in it. - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 9:58 am:

    Nick, tell that to the single parents dealing with deadbeat exes who will seemingly do anything possible to avoid supporting their kids. It’s terrible, but penalties like this do help.


  5. - Out Here In The Middle - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:00 am:

    Totally agree with the pay comments. I recently drove past a rural McDonald’s with signs outside offering $12/hour starting pay. Wonder what that school district is paying it’s bus drivers?


  6. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:00 am:

    in my District, the bus service early on, Sept-Oct was very prone to delays - getting better now . This is a national problem, good on Rep Davidsmeyer for looking for some relief. As for the pay if you have a CDL you are looking at $2,500 bonus and $20-$22/hr. Not terrible …

    “According to a national survey by the National Association for Pupil Transportation and two other school transportation organizations, half of the almost 1,500 school transportation coordinators surveyed described their driver shortage as “severe” or “desperate.” About 78% said the shortage is getting “much worse” or “a little worse” “


  7. - Clueless - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:02 am:

    Go ahead mandate more counselors, you’ll never find them. University education programs are seeing a 45% decrease in enrollment. It’s pretty easy “coaching from the bleachers”.


  8. - Homebody - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    You get what you pay for. The story is the same in every story about education, DCFS, etc. Whether it is a teacher, a social worker, a bus driver, a janitor.

    Maybe stop spending money on administrators and task forces that just generate reports and recommendations that never go anywhere, and get back to making sure your front line staff is adequately compensated so you can ensure you’re hiring people who actually want to be there, and hiring in sufficient numbers.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:12 am:

    The jump from a junior in high school to choosing the best and smartest way to continue an education path, or a trade path, even considering enlisting in the Armed Forces, that ratio to get that quality counseling is terribly weak.

    Can students find their way? Absolutely.

    Could they use actual guidance to make those best choices? Absolutely too.

    Now, to the other, and arguably more important aspect of counseling in the four years, social and mental guidance, you can’t tell me if a student is one of, say, 500 or so, how can the counselor and the student find a needed partnership in those trying 4 years?

    It’s a tough job, thankless often, frustrating often too, but the need is there, and the options are sparse for students.

    Illinois needs to do better.


  10. - A - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:21 am:

    Maybe, but not sure loosening the requirements to drive a school bus will help. It’s the nature of the job that makes it unappealing. I know a retiree who was officially reprimanded–in the file!– as a bus driver for insisting that one of his passengers pull his mask up The verbal abuse of the driver by the student who refused was never taken into account however. That’ll make someone say—not worth it!


  11. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    ==I recently drove past a rural McDonald’s with signs outside offering $12/hour starting pay==

    I’ve seen the McDonald’s in Chatham advertise $14 an hour on their outdoor sign in recent weeks. And BTW at least for now that McD’s has suspended indoor dining yet again (although the sign says “health reasons,” it may not only be the Omicron threat but also problems finding help).


  12. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    -$20-$22/hr-

    Yes, but how many hours are they actually being paid for a day? It’s not the whole school day.


  13. - snowman1961 - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    It looks like national avg ratio is 430 to 1 and according to the ASCA, only 24% of schools have a ratio below 350 to 1. This also includes all schools, elementary to HS.
    Schools are hurting for employees from teachers to recess people but they do not have the funds to pay more without increasing the already high property taxes. We need to do better to fund schools so they can pay more to hire more front line people as well as teachers.


  14. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    This fall saw some rural districts in Central Illinois lose bus drivers because they would not get vaccinated. Some even balked at getting tested! Considering that the bulk of the students bussed are elementary students that is shameful.

    There are not enough school counselors graduating from the universities to take those required positions. Only 15 Illinois universities have graduate programs with 9 in the Chicago metro area. Illinois State dropped their program in the 1980’s due to declining enrollment.

    When I Googled the topic a lot of ads popped up for online courses from out of state universities. Those need to be carefully examined to make sure their courses align with those required for licensure in Illinois.

    Counselors need more support in the social and emotional counseling areas. No doubt due to COVID issues, students are more stressed, angry and anti-social than before COVID. I hear this from my friends who are still teaching or have grandkids.


  15. - low level - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    == Nick - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 9:47 am:

    Suspending a license for failure to pay child support seems pretty counter-intuitive, honestly.==

    Spot on. How are they going to pay child support if they dont have a job?


  16. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 11:44 am:

    ===Spot on. How are they going to pay child support if they dont have a job?===

    By the time the process gets far enough along to suspend a driver’s license, a dead beat dad has usually had several chances to make a good faith effort to pay child support. Willful deadbeats end up with a suspended DL. If they had a job, their wages would be garnished in most cases anyway.

    Do you know who pays child support when the father doesn’t? Everybody else.


  17. - Pundent - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 11:44 am:

    =It’s not the whole school day.=

    And when the kids are off there’s little if any work. That’s holidays, breaks, and summer.


  18. - Interim Retiree - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 11:52 am:

    Finding bus drivers IS difficult, especially when you are only offering 3 hours of work per day. If you can have them also be playground supervisors or work in cafeteria, or classroom paras that helps. Of course then they get benefits, which causes taxpayers to complain about rising costs/increased taxes.

    School Social Workers can also take some burdens off counselors.
    More administrators required today as opposed to 20-30 years ago because many more mandates from state & federal governments.


  19. - Rudy’s teeth - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    The Perils of School Field Trips
    Imagine 270 fourteen year old students on multiple yellow school buses. We cautioned students to be respectful, no yelling, singing, or music. Our reason—some of the drivers were elderly and navigating expressway traffic to Chicago was challenging.

    Since we took six trips a year, this process was fingers crossed we made it safely to the destination and back experience. We had no parent chaperones— only teachers and students.


  20. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    =Change that and there will suddenly not be a “shortage”.=

    First, ho many here are familiar with the state’s history regarding transportation funding? My guess is not many if any.

    Illinois requires schools to offer transportation,
    and funds this through Categorical Funding, commonly called an MCAT. You then have to complete a request that includes completing the funding formula. Through that process you get a number that represents you “entitlement”. I cannot remember when schools last received their full entitlement from the state. Even with the move to EBF model Transportation is still not fully funded. During the Quinn/Rauner proration years the entitlements were funded at 25%. These days it is closer to 80% and the rest has to be made up with local dollars.

    The reason for the under funding? Well don’t ask the ISBE, they just default to the ILGA.

    I think this is the easiest are to underfund because the impact is not felt in chicago (who gets a cut of the funding pool off of the top) or suburbia where the geographic size of some districts is 1 square mile. Rural districts, some as large as 400 square miles, are easy to cut because they are represented by republicans and have fewer voters. Our cost per square mile is higher because we cover so much ground and have a lower student density. We struggle with funding to begin with, and then we try to run each fund in balanced manner.

    Rural school struggle to find people and then top try and compete with the market today is simply a losing cause. One area rural district offered $25 per hour plus a sign on bonus and received exactly zero applications. We cannot afford to pay for 8 hours and offer benefits unless we have other work for these folks, and if you have a CDL yoou can very easily clear $60-$70k per year without a load of screaming children.

    This legislation will not help at all, and the requirement for counselors is an absolute joke. e have been trying to get extra social-emotional support for our students and have contracted with two outside sources. And we struggle to get them to show up.

    The ILGA is incapable of helping us because they lack the understanding and the will to do what is right. They would prefer to posture on nonsense issues like CRT and student discipline.


  21. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 12:49 pm:

    -Finding bus drivers IS difficult, especially when you are only offering 3 hours of work per day.-

    Good luck finding something else to fill the gap when the school needs you most days just 6:30-8:30 and 2:30-4:30 and tells you to “go fish” filling the rest of that time, other than the occasional field trip.


  22. - Enemy of the State - Wednesday, Dec 1, 21 @ 4:48 pm:

    How many commercial drivers have left the field because they no longer can pass the drug test? Give up my daily joint just to drive a bus? Yeah, sure.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Richard Duchossois
* It's just a bill
* COVID-19 roundup
* Pause for the cause
* Campaign notebook
* State wants judge to review TRO on judicial redistricting law: "Respondents never sought this relief"
* Today's number: <1 percent
* Study: Rape crisis centers proved resilient during the Rauner impasse
* *** UPDATED x1 *** OEIG: IDOC used inmate labor for staff fundraising events "such as car washes and shoe shining"
* Pritzker touts solar investment
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller