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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Schools across the United States are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, further complicating an academic year already full of challenges, AP reports.

The big picture: About 81% of school districts reported having trouble finding an adequate number of bus drivers, according to a survey conducted by HopSkipDrive, a school ride-service company. The shortage, which has occurred in previous years, has worsened since the pandemic began.

  • School districts in Delaware and Montana have begun offering cash incentives to entice people to take the job. Other districts have also increased bus driver pay and offered programs to assist people in obtaining their commercial licenses, per AP.
  • The coronavirus and pandemic response has posed additional deterrents for the workforce.

What they're saying: “It’s really at a breaking point,” said HopSkipDrive co-founder and CEO Joanna McFarland, per AP.

  • Dan Redford, of the bus service company, First Student, noted that several drivers quit due to pandemic masking requirements.
  • "I know I’ve had a lot of drivers that don’t believe in that and don’t want to have to deal with that," Redford said.

Go deeper: Pandemic fuels staggering teacher shortages across the U.S.

Go deeper

Sep 13, 2021 - Health

About 1 million kids return to in-person school in New York City

Officials in a school in New York City on Sept. 2. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

About 1 million New York City public school students returned to all in-person classes on Monday for the first time since March 2020 and under a new vaccine mandate for all city Department of Education employees.

Why it matters: Around 148,000 employees — including teachers, custodians and office staff — returning to work in the largest U.S. school district will be required to receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27 and will not have the option to submit a weekly coronavirus test instead.

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The Democrats' debt dilemma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats find themselves in a political and potentially catastrophic economic quagmire as Republicans stand firm on denying them any help in raising the federal debt ceiling.

Why it matters: The Democrats are technically right — the debt comes, in part, from past spending by President Trump and his predecessors, not only President Biden's new big-ticket programs. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is saddling them with the public relations challenge of making that distinction during next year's crucial midterms.

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