ELIZABETHTOWN — Bus drivers in Bladen County will soon be driving to the bank.
On Monday at the Bladen County Board of Education meeting, the board discussed giving raises to district bus drivers.
“The General Assembly just voted to appropriate $75,000 specifically for raises for bus drivers,” said Bladen County Schools Finance Officer Sharon Penny. “Usually, they get the same raises as Central Office staff, or non-certified personnel, but this year, lawmakers specifically set aside money.”
Penny informed the board most other surrounding districts have used the money for $1 increases, which she recommended to the board as well.
“I’ve done some pretty good estimates in calculating … and it would come close to $68,000, but that doesn’t include overtime,” she informed board members.
Complicating matters is the loss of enough students that the system is facing losing three buses and the difficulty statewide of maintaining reliable drivers, according to Penny. The loss of three buses frees up additional funds that could also be used as incentives for bus operators.
“I recommend we give bus drivers an incentive for perfect attendance,” Penny remarked. “To start out with, we could do a $25 stipend at the end of two months. If the number of drivers we have now would get perfect attendance for a whole year, that would cost the district less than $10,000, but we know every driver won’t receive it every time.
“If we want to keep drivers, we need to do some kind of incentive.”
Board members approved the raise and incentive.
The next meeting of the Bladen County Board of Education will be Monday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Bladen County Schools administrative building board room.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.