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December 14, 2017

County school bus drivers getting immediate raises

File Photo/Cassandra Brown
Jennifer Hayes drives a route near Marshall last year. She and 127 other drivers will get raises soon.
You know what a chronic tightwad I am, but I support this.
— Supervisor Holder Trumbo
Fauquier Bus Drivers
• Drivers: 128

• Vacancies:

• Routes: 152

• Student riders: More than 6,000

• Miles driven in 2016-17: 3.2 million

• Pay: $13.98 to $21.40 an hour.

• Increase: The scale will start at $16.50 an hour.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s board of supervisors agreed Thursday to help the county school system address a bus driver “crisis.”

The supervisors will provide an additional $80,000 to pay bus drivers more for the balance of the fiscal year that runs through June. The school board will match that increase, Superintendent David Jeck told the supervisors.

The funds will boost starting driver pay to $16.50 an hour — up $2.52 — and will give current drivers raises. The raises will take effect “as soon as possible,” Dr. Jeck said.

County schools had 17 bus driver vacancies as of Thursday, according to Dr. Jeck. It has 128, driving 152 daily routes.

“We are in a crisis,” the superintendent said.

Even with monthly hiring fairs, the school system struggles to attract and retain drivers because of higher pay in nearby counties, he explained.

“It’s late buses, an inordinate number of kids being picked up late and dropped off late,” Dr. Jeck said after the meeting. “Drivers are being called upon to do double runs.”

Citizens have complained to them about late buses and scheduling challenges, several supervisors said during he afternoon work session.

“You know what a chronic tightwad I am, but I support this,” Supervisor Holder Trumbo (Scott District) said.

His four colleagues quickly agreed.

“About 80 percent of drivers make less than $16.50 an hour, typically with one to three years of experience,” Dr. Jeck said.

It costs $3,100 to train a driver and pay for his or her commercial driver’s license.

More than 6,000 students ride buses in Fauquier.

The supervisors also agreed to increase fiscal 2019 funding by $160,000 for bus driver pay.

“That was huge,” Dr. Jeck said. “I am so grateful for the board of supervisors to help us out. Clearly they recognize the problem.”

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Tomnmarie · December 14, 2017 at 6:29 pm
Even with a raise, I would not do it. The bus you drive today will be the bus FCPS will throw you under tomorrow, especially should the driver dares to reprimand an unruly or physically aggressive student.
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