Richmond schools increase bus driver pay to combat shortage
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Tuesday night, the Richmond School Board made a final adjustment to next year’s budget to include an increase in the starting pay for bus drivers to $23 an hour.
RPS division leaders said it will now be the highest paying school district when it comes to bus drivers in Central Virginia.
It’s news Transportation Director Floyd Miles said he’s been hoping to hear for quite some time as he knows competition for drivers is not just between school divisions.
“Everybody’s out for the same person,” Miles said. “So, I may be looking for a school bus driver, but a school bus driver can drive a UPS truck, or a tractor-trailer, a greyhound bus, or a GRTC bus.”
By increasing the starting wage from $17.68 to $23 an hour, RPS hopes to have a competitive edge in hiring.
Miles believes the raise in pay can bring his driver numbers up from 107 to 142, along with a fleet of substitute drivers.
“We drive our students to the next level of education; without us, they don’t get here,” Miles said. “We have to look out for their safety when they’re getting on and off the bus. We have to make sure they’re safe while they’re on the buses. It’s a lot of responsibility these drivers have for that amount of money.”
If you’re currently sitting on a CDL license, Richmond Schools will pay you a $3,500 sign-on bonus just to hop on and drive next school year.
“If you don’t have your CDL license, that’s okay too. We will actually start you as a salaried employee - a paid employee of RPS - during your CDL training,” Sarah Abubaker, with Richmond Schools, said. “So, we’re basically paying for you to go through the CDL training.”
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