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AA County Superintendent to ask Board of Ed to approve a $7.4 million budget request to incentivize school bus drivers

Four students hospitalized after bus crash
Posted at 9:37 PM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 08:05:04-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Anne Arundel County Superintendent has announced initiatives to incentivize school bus drivers.

Superintendent of Schools George Arlotto announced on Wednesday that he will ask the Board of Education to approve a $7.4 million budget request to the Anne Arundel County Government.

This would provide funds sufficient for County Public Schools’ school transportation contractors to provide a $5 an hour increase to every one of their school bus drivers and bus attendants.

The funding would also cover increases for drivers and attendants, pending the outcome of negotiations. The package also contemplates reaching agreement with contractors on compensating bus drivers and attendants for a full eight-hour workday.

In addition to the recurring operating budget request for $7.4 million, the plan also includes:

  • $150,000 for $2,000 signing bonuses to attract new bus drivers and attendants, which can be unilaterally financed though the Anne Arundel County Government’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. Those bonuses could begin to be made available to contractors to hire new drivers immediately upon County approval.
  • $2.0 million for $2,000 retention bonuses for existing drivers and attendants, to be paid in installments over the course of the school year. The first installment would be paid immediately using County ARP funds, with the second and third installments paid across the remainder of the school year using County ARP funding.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman issued the following statement in response.

“Hallelujah. We now have a proposal that gives hope to our drivers and an incentive for others to join their ranks. I look forward to working with Dr. Arlotto and the Board of Education on a funding plan and swift implementation. For our hard-working parents who are the backbone of our local businesses and the kids who are trying to catch up after a year of virtual learning, a safe and reliable school transportation system is essential. We must deliver.”