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Northeast Ohio bus driver comes out of retirement to assist with bus driver shortage

Amid a lack of bus drivers nationwide, in Northeast Ohio, Bonnie-Jill Piskac comes out of retirement and returns to her route for the 2023-24 school year.

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — On any given morning throughout the school year – you’ll likely find Boinnie-Jill Piskac behind the wheel of the Blue Bird bus No. 46, or what she calls, the “safe bus.”

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 “Every time one of the kids ask me why we have to do this… Ohio administrative code 3301- 08 and I tell them what the law is and they have to follow the laws just like I do.”

She’s been on her route for 43 years and chances are – she’s driven a generation or two.

Piskac said, “this year I had a kindergartner on my bus and I had his grandparents on my bus which makes me feel really old.”

Across the country less bus drivers are hitting the road. With a nation-wide driver shortage is impacting 80-percent of school districts, according to “Hop Skip Drive.”  That’s due to lack of competitive pay, recruiting issues and strict regulations making it hard to fill positions.

 “The advantage to re-hiring a retired bus driver is we’ve already been trained, we know the district, we know all the rules and regulations.”

For a brief moment, nine years ago., Bonnie was prepared to put her bus in park – for good.

 “I was just going to sub and one of our drivers went out with a back injury, so I came back full time,” Piskac said.

3News Surprised Piskac with a back to school gift ahead of the new school year!

Piskac also told 3News' Carmen Blackwell that the kids in her district are amazing, making her decision to come out of retirement an east one! Some of the perks of driving a bus according to Piskac include having plenty of time during the day to get chores and errands done, as well as having holidays and summers off.

More from 3News' Carmen Blackwell: 

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