PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Pasco County Schools voted to raise bus drivers' salaries by 4% Tuesday evening as the ongoing struggle to fill bus driver positions continues, according to a spokesperson for the school district. The vote now awaits the approval of school board members.
The school system said they are short 46 regular route bus drivers. The shortage has impacted bus routes across Pasco County and courtesy bus routes have been eliminated as a result. The school district also reluctantly adjusted new bell schedules at the start of the year to give drivers more time to get kids to class on schedule with fewer routes.
The county is proposing a referendum scheduled for August to raise the property tax so the funds can directly go to raising employees' salaries for bus drivers, teachers and everyone else involved in Pasco County schools besides administrators.
The Pasco County school board will vote to approve the 4% raise and the employee's ratification vote is scheduled for Wednesday, the school system said in the release.
The salary raise comes after school bus drivers in Pasco County rallied across the district for better wages in April. The current starting pay without the 4% increase for a bus driver in Pasco County Schools is $13.40. Since then, Pasco County Schools has been in continued negotiations with the union.
The school district is among many across the country facing bus driver staffing shortages. Starting this year, states were legally allowed to waive a portion of commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test to address the labor shortage.
To learn more about applying to be a bus driver for Pasco County Schools, click here.