BCS Advantage Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 7

Bus Driver Pay Increases Bold Moves to Attract Drivers A s kids, we used to sing, “The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round.” Now, pay for school bus drivers is going up, up, up! In the recent years, Buncombe County Schools has seen numerous spikes in job vacancies for bus drivers and filling these much-needed positions has been difficult for various reasons. Assistant Superintendent Joe Hough explains the area’s unemployment rate is lower than other counties in the state and job opportunities have increased with business growth. “Essentially, we have to become more competitive as we search for quality people,” says Hough. Additionally, Hough adds that it is important to recruit workers who are the “right fit” for the job. Drivers must be able to manage the bus routes into their daily schedules, as well as enjoy spending time interacting with school- aged children. “It is a good job with a decent salary and for most employees it can also carry benefits [such as] health insurance and membership in the state retirement system,” says BCS Personnel Director Cynthia Lopez. “From the school system’s standpoint, it’s one of our most important jobs; it’s how our kids arrive to school each day.” This year’s bus driver salary increases are a bold move to attract and retain drivers for the sizable 262 bus fleet that serves more than 16,000 students and travels over 17,000 miles daily. Beginning February 22, all steps of the bus driver pay scale were increased so that drivers will earn more money. Permanent drivers now earn an hourly rate of at least $14.12 inclusive of the local supplement. As an additional recruitment tool, new drivers will receive a $100 signing bonus until June 9, 2016. All Commercial Drivers License (CDL) cost will be reimbursed upon successful completion of the training process. Hough continues, “We strongly feel that this pay increase will give us a distinct and immediate competitive advantage in attracting and retaining high-quality, dependable bus drivers to safely transport our most valuable resource: our students.” NEW PAY SCALE FOR PERMANENT BUS DRIVERS including supplement Years of Experience Hourly Rate 0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 30+ $14.12 $14.74 $15.23 $15.62 $16.15 $17.28 "TIFWJMMF /PSUI$BSPMJOB 8IZXPSLGPSVT Local supplement Mentor Program Professional Development Highly Desirable Location -FBSO.PSF buncombe.k12.nc.us 6