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Chesterfield boosts pay to combat disruptive school bus driver shortage

Posted at 7:28 AM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 12:50:18-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield County Schools will boost starting school bus driver pay from $17.21 to $20.21 an hour and increase the signing bonus from $1,000 to $3,000 in an effort to
improve the county's school bus driver shortage.

Chesterfield County Superintendent Merv Daugherty called the school bus driver shortage a national issue and thanked families who have answered the superintendent's call to drive their children to school.

The announcement comes at the beginning of the second week of school in Chesterfield. The first week of school saw transportation issues of two kinds: a bus driver shortage led to drivers covering more routes and working longer hours, and parents reporting long wait times for their kids to be picked up or dropped off.

Daugherty issued an apology after the first few days of problems.

“I apologize to our families for the stress and frustration that these transportation problems have caused at the start of the school year,” he said in a statement posted on the school system's website Wednesday afternoon.

Chesterfield County Public Schools already offers the highest hourly rate among the four major school divisions in Central Virginia.

They also offer two bonuses of $500 throughout the year and smaller ones for performance and attendance.

Meanwhile, Henrico County Schools announced last week they're offering bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 in hopes of attracting drivers.

Chesterfield said it was short around 100 bus drivers at last check. There are 33 drivers in the training pipeline, according to the county, 75-80 were applications were submitted last week.