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ST. JOHN | Indiana school districts may soon face a shortage of bus drivers because of new licensing rules, the Lake Central School Board learned at Monday’s meeting.

The type of license needed to drive a school bus has changed over the last 10 years, said Al Gandolfi, Lake Central School Corp. assistant superintendent.

All bus drivers must now hold an Indiana commercial driver’s license, the same type required for truck drivers, he said.

School routes probably will not be as hard hit as will extracurricular activities and field trips by the shortage of drivers, Gandolfi said. That includes sports away games and academic events that Lake Central students participate in, he said.

“The writing is on the wall,” Gandolfi said.

Lake Central School Corp. offers CDL training during the summer. The six-week class meets for two hours five days a week.

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“There is no compensation for the hours spent in training,” Gandolfi said.

To obtain the CDL license, applicants must pass a written test and a driver's skills test.

Once they pass the CDL tests, bus drivers must also pass a physical and a pre-employment drug test, he said.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicle's official website, www.in.gov/bmv/2854.htm, states that the CDL “allows the holder to operate commercial motor vehicles or combinations of vehicles with declared gross vehicle weight ratings in excess of 26,000 pounds; vehicles designed or used to transport 16 or more people, including the driver; and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.”

An Indiana CDL license is valid for four years. The licenses may be renewed at any Indiana license branch up to one year before the license expires, the website states.

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