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Henrico starts the school year with dozens of bus driver openings

Posted at 6:58 AM, Aug 29, 2022

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- As Henrico County Public Schools opens their classroom doors on Monday, they're dealing with dozens of bus driver openings.

Right now, HCPS needs 75 bus drivers, but director of transportation Jim Ellis said the district is actually in a better position this year than last.

"Last year, we had about 120 openings," Ellis explained.

Henrico is offering new drivers a starting salary of $17.60 per hour and bonuses of up to $3,000 that will be paid throughout the school year.

Returning drivers will receive a $500 bonus on their Sept. 30 paycheck, and the district is also offering up to $1,000 in safe driver incentives and up to $1,000 in attendance incentives to all drivers.

The district is doubling up routes, and they’ve also launched a new app for parents to track where their child is since buses may be running behind — but Ellis noted that if there’s traffic or the bus breaks down, the app may be a little off.

"I would just expect a little patience," he noted. "We we are working as hard as we can to get this done. The amount of students that are coming in at the last minute that we are unaware of, we've got to get them on buses. So there's a lot of paperwork and things that are going on in the background to get all students on as fast as possible."

Ellis said he won't ask his drivers to do anything he's not willing to do, and he's had to fill-in when bus drivers call out to try to help out his team.

"The reason that I got into this was because the driver that I had in Kindergarten was a super person that I enjoyed, and I wanted to be a bus driver," said Ellis. "You're the first person they see and the last person they see when it comes to their education, and you know, we start their day and we finish it and we can we can do a lot to brighten their day and get them through."

Ellis urges drivers to pay attention behind the week, as there will be more buses out on the roadways.

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