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Chesterfield increases bus driver pay to $20 per hour, announces $3,000 bonus

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:38 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:59 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield County Public Schools will start bus driver pay at $20.21 per hour, in addition to adding $3,000 bonuses, according to county officials.

Members of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors and School Board made the announcement during a press conference on Monday morning.

At the beginning of the year, driver salaries started at $17.21 per hour. Now, this hourly pay will increase to $20.21.

Transportation employees who hold a commercial driver’s license will also be eligible for a $3,000 bonus.

Daugherty says this bonus will be paid out in increments during the school year.

“When you think about the bonus and the salary increase, it’s over a $7,500 increase in salary pay for our bus drivers,” Daugherty said during Monday’s press conference.

A shortage of bus drivers has led to transportation problems at the start of the school year. Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said the school district was down 100 bus drivers.

In a video message posted on the school district’s Facebook page, the superintendent urged parents to drop off and pick up their children from school.

“We knew this was a national issue, but we cannot sit back and say everybody is having the same problem,” said Daugherty.

Daugherty says the school district had conversations with county leaders to come up with solutions to their bus driver shortage.

Daugherty says the county came to their rescue with the proposal for this salary increase.

The money was available through government funding. We were looking at ways to use this funding and the county came up with this proposal for us,” he said.

Between $3.3 and $3.6 million in state funding will go towards covering the cost of these incentives.

“We’ve been having hiring fairs each month and dealing with everything,” Daugherty said. “The opportunity was working with the county and find out how we could look at this salary issue. It did take us some time.”

Daugherty says they had 75 to 80 bus driver applications come in last week. He also adds 33 people started their three-week training program.

“Our goal is every week we have some people graduating ready to drive,” Daugherty said.

Tina Sampley, a parent with three children in Chesterfield schools, hopes the pay increase will provide relief to the county’s bus driver shortage.

“I hope this will help them hire new people. I really do hope,” she said. “They need to do something to get new bus drivers.”

Daugherty says it could take several months before all their vacant bus driver positions can be filled. However, he’s optimistic parents will see progress.

“They’ve been extremely patient with us. They can see some progress. They’ll continue to see progress. As we continue to move forward, I think that’s the best that we can offer,” he said. “A month from now, I would anticipate that things are going to look a lot better.”

The school district will continue to offer their bus drivers monthly attendance incentives and quarterly safe-driving incentives.

The school district says current bus drivers will see the pay increase reflected in their paychecks starting Sept. 30.

For more information on being a Chesterfield bus driver, click here.

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