Montgomery County BOE approves bonuses for school bus drivers

MPS board approves one-time sign-on and retention bonus for school bus drivers
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - New and current Montgomery Public School bus drivers are about to get a bonus.

In an effort to retain and attract drivers, the Montgomery Public School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of a $2,000 sign-on bonus for new drivers and a $2,000 retention bonus for current full-time drivers. Part-time drivers will get a $1,000 bonus.

“We believe that this sign-on bonus and retention bonus will help us retain the bus drivers we already have, along with hoping that we’ll be able to recruit the ones that we’ve lost previously,” said MPS Chief Financial Officer Arther Watts to the school board.

The bonus is a one-time payment, and drivers who accept must agree to stay with MPS for at least two years.

In line with other districts across the state, MPS is experiencing a shortage in bus drivers. Right now, the school system estimates being down as much as 20 employees.

“As you know, as soon as our bus drivers pass their CDL, they’re stolen basically,” Watts said.

Rolando Carter works for the transportation department and addressed the board at Tuesday’s meeting.

“What can we do to rectify the situation? Retention and recruitment is the name of the game,” Carter said. “Better pay and equal pay for our skills and our abilities.”

The school board discussed their fear over losing drivers who may find jobs elsewhere making a higher salary.

MPS did give bus drivers a 15% pay raise in October 2021, but Superintendent Ann Roy Moore agreed that additional pay is needed to compete.

“Even though we have given them a raise, if we didn’t get them to the competitive rate, then they still may not stay with us,” Moore said.

MPS officials hope the additional cash will keep their drivers behind the wheel and entice more to join.

When exactly drivers can expect to see that $2,000 bonus is not yet known. WSFA 12 News was told the financial team is working with the human resources department now to determine when drivers will see that money.

MPS projects the additional bonuses to cost them about $366,000, which they’ll pull from the $4 million available to them in the state transportation department funding reserves.

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