NewsLocal News


School bus drivers to get bonuses in Howard County

Work stoppage Monday left some parents to drive children
Posted at 4:19 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 05:54:21-05

GLENELG, Md. — No cost of living raises in more than a decade, double routes for many and transporting a majority of school children who have not been vaccinated---it’s really no wonder that school bus drivers in Howard County, like Diann Withers, said they had finally had enough.

“I tried on numerous occasions to get in touch with officials to ‘Let’s see what we can do about this’, and I was ignored so how would that make you feel?” Withers told us. “It would make you feel like nobody or why should I bother with you?”

The school system warned parents with a letter that went out over the weekend that they should prepare to transport their own children, and by Monday morning, contractors like Mike Bowen felt the impact of the work stoppage.

“My whole entire office staff actually jumped in to fill what we could,” said Bowen. “We actually probably had 95 percent of our drivers that did not run this morning.”

“How many does that represent?” we asked.

“Probably 60 routes were affected,” he replied.

By mid-afternoon, word came of an agreement, which would pay the bus drivers bonuses like their counterparts in Anne Arundel County received last week, and they will get all of their money even sooner.

“They offered a cash incentive for the drivers to get back on the buses this afternoon, which we are fully staffed. We have every bus running,” said Bowen.

Bowen says the deal came from the office of Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano and in addition to cash bonuses now, both sides will work to reach a long-term deal by the end of the year.

“That’s great, but will we continue to progress after that? That’s the name of the game,” said Withers, “If we don’t, then we’re back to square one again.”

Bowen says, tentatively, it looks like the agreement will pay the school bus drivers $5,000 in cash in two payments with all of it to be delivered by Christmas.