Some school bus driver applicants affected by 2011 Mississippi law

LAUDERDALE CO., Miss. (WTOK) - A 2011 law in Mississippi which says state employees who retire have a waiting period until they can work a job within the same agency may be contributing to substitute bus driver shortage.

School officials in Lauderdale County say the issue has gotten so bad, administrators and coaches are sometimes having to get behind the wheel for some routes.

But the law isn’t specific to just schools.

“The 90 day wait is not unique to schools; [it applies to] any state employee that is part of the [Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi]," says state representative and speaker pro tempore Greg Snowden. "If they retire and they start drawing their retirement, the rules require them to wait 90 days before they could be re-employed on a contract basis by the same agency. That’s to keep people from double dipping or from stepping in the next day and getting the same job.”

Snowden says there would need to be an addition or change to the law that makes an exception for bus drivers for this not to be an issue.

“With schools and bus drivers, this is a little bit unique because most of these bus drivers are probably teachers that have retired. And so they’re now drawing retirement but they need to continue as bus drivers. The school district needs to have them as bus drivers, but the rule that covers everybody says 90 days," Snowden explains. "So unless there is some carve out done for school bus drivers, they’re treated the same as any other PERS retiree, regardless of whatever department or agency they work for.”

If you would like to apply to become a bus driver, you may call 601-485-0847 or click the attached link.