Chesterfield County Public Schools increases bus driver pay and incentives

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Through partnership with Chesterfield County, Chesterfield County Public Schools will increase pay and offer additional bonus incentives to help attract and retain school bus drivers and staff members who hold a commercial driver’s license.

Additional funding from Chesterfield County will mean starting pay for bus drivers will increase from $17.21 to $20.21 per hour. Current transportation employees who hold a commercial driver’s license will also see a pay increase and will be eligible for a bonus up to $3,000 during this school year. This is an increase from a planned $1,000 bonus. Drivers will continue to be eligible for existing monthly attendance incentives and quarterly safe-driving incentives.

“We have always been among the regional leaders in bus driver salaries, and this will allow us to better compete with the private sector and offer an even greater incentive to apply and stay with Chesterfield schools,” said Chesterfield County Public Schools Superintendent Merv Daugherty. “More than anything, we all want our Chesterfield kids, parents, teachers, staff and bus drivers to have a great school year. Transportation plays a tremendous role in that.”

A national school bus driver shortage has led to transportation challenges at the start of the 2021-22 school year. Chesterfield school bus drivers are working long hours and driving multiple routes to get students to and from school, but dozens of school buses are sitting idle because of a lack of drivers.

“We would all like to move on from the pandemic, but unfortunately, it continues to present challenges, such as the bus driver shortage,” said Chesterfield County Administrator Joe Casey. “This additional funding will provide a better salary package and bonus incentives to take steps in overcoming that obstacle.”

Chesterfield County Public Schools continues to aggressively recruit bus drivers, and several potential drivers are currently in the hiring process of interviews, background checks and training. Many schools are working to increase efficiencies, where possible, to student drop- off and pickup procedures to improve traffic and reduce the time families spend in line when transporting children to and from school. Additionally, the administration at each school is looking at traffic patterns to identify opportunities for improved pickup and drop-off procedures.

“Members of our School Board and administration are working diligently to ease the challenges we are facing with transportation,” said School Board Chair Ryan Harter. “We are so excited to be able to offer increased pay and bonus incentives to fill these integral positions and bring some normalcy back to our students, teachers, staff and families.”

The school system held two bus driver job fairs earlier this year, and another bus driver job fair is scheduled 4-8 p.m. Sept. 30 at Manchester Middle, 7401 Hull Street Road. School bus drivers make a daily difference in the Chesterfield County community: They are the first and last school representatives that students see each day.

“We recognize that bus drivers and transportation staff are critically important to the school division,” said Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Holland. “Our hope is that this funding will help address the driver shortage and return the transportation system to a place where students are getting to school and home in a timely fashion, and parents are no longer sitting for long periods in pickup and drop-off lines.”

Apply to be a bus driver at https://mychesterfieldschools.com/apply-at-ccps/ or call Human Resources at 804-748-1984. (Applicants who need access to a computer can apply 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday in the School Board Central Office at 9900 Krause Road.)