Henrico schools looking to fill bus driver positions amid shortage

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - As the start of the school year approaches for Henrico County Public Schools, the school district says they’re actively recruiting people to get behind the wheel of their school buses.

Andy Jenks, a spokesperson for Henrico County Public Schools, says the district is looking to fill 100 vacancies. Right now, Jenks says they have 45 people in different parts of the training pipeline to fill parts of this shortage.

“We hope to bring those folks on board as full-time drivers while also attracting those who are already licensed who might be able to begin driving for us as early as next Wednesday,” he said.

On Wednesday, the school district announced a raise in their starting hourly pay for bus drivers to $17.15 per hour. In addition to the bump in pay, the school district is also offering a variety of bonuses for new drivers.

Depending on licensure, new bus drivers will receive:

  • A $3,000 bonus for drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), plus “S” and “P” endorsements.
  • A $2,000 bonus for drivers with a CDL (but no “S” and “P” endorsements).
  • A $1,000 bonus for brand new rivers.

This raise in pay comes days after Chesterfield County Public Schools announced a raise in their starting hourly pay for bus drivers from $17.21 to $20.21.The school district is also offering a $3,000 bonus for transportation employees who hold a commercial driver’s license.

Richmond Public Schools says they need 17 bus drivers. The starting pay for bus drivers in RPS is $17.08 an hour.

Current and new drivers for RPS will get a $4,000 bonus if they have a CDL and stay on the job. Those without the license will get $2,000.

If drivers have perfect attendance throughout the year, they would be eligible for another $1,000 incentive.

“We keep thinking of ways to be attractive and recruit new drivers into our ranks,” he said. “This continues to be a competitive environment throughout the region, and we’ll do everything we can to make Henrico County an attractive place for our drivers to work.”

“I think it’s going to be essential to continue to target pay increases to eliminate the shortages we have with not only bus drivers, but teachers as well,” said Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James Lane about what could be done to fill these jobs.

Henrico Schools say they’re working to minimize the impacts of their bus driver shortage with a variety of possible options.

“The vacancies will have an impact. We’re going to minimize that impact based on the experiences we’ve had in previous years,” he said. “Drivers would take on more than one route. In some instances, they may do what’s called a double-back or double-run, where they do one lap around their route and come back again to pick up some students from the same school. Sometimes we have substitute drivers, who are not necessarily on our full-time payroll, but can help us out by filling in some gaps in the short term.”

Candidates for full-time and substitute bus drivers must: be at least 21 years old; have a valid Virginia driver’s license; be able to obtain a CDL Class B instructional permit or hold a CDL Class B license with endorsements in P (Transporting Passengers)/S (School Bus) and airbrakes; pass a physical and drug test and have no felony convictions.

To apply for the position, click here.

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