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York County School Division Responds to Bus Driver’s Low Wages
By Nancy E. Sheppard

LowBus imageLast week, Yorktown Crier | Poquoson Post highlighted pay disparity faced by York County School Division bus drivers. While York County School Division was unable to comment by press time for that article, Katherine Goff, YCSD Public Relations and Communications Officer, provided the following response on behalf of the school division:

"The division’s Human Resources department conducts planned position reviews each year, with various positions cycling through the review process at every 4 years. That comparison is currently based on the midpoint of the given salary scale. The School Board did adjust bus driver compensation out of cycle on the annual pay plan in FY18. Additionally, the division’s current strategic plan includes an objective that states, ‘by FY20, the division will identify benchmarks for the nonlicensed staff and administrator compensation package in relation to the Hampton Roads comparator market for use in the quadrennial review cycle.’”

"Recognizing the driver shortages and higher than normal absentee rates over the last two years, while also experiencing growing demands for transportation needs, the division shared the following information with parents and staff in May.”

"We have taken multiple steps to address these matters and will continue to examine all of the issues to identify appropriate solutions to improve the high-quality services we strive to provide and that our families expect and deserve. Below are a few of the actions taken in the last few weeks:
  • Launched the My Stop mobile app pilot program for all 19 schools to provide real-time bus tracking and notifications
  • Placed additional staff at the transportation office to improve communication with schools and parents
  • Added vans to the fleet to provide alternate transportation options
  • Added four drivers, contract and substitute, to our employment roster
  • Attended two job fairs and one community event in an attempt to recruit substitute bus drivers.”
"Additionally, all bus drivers and bus aides were invited to attend focus group sessions in June to discuss the challenges the department has been facing. The feedback provided by staff who signed up to attend these meetings will be reviewed by a task force comprising staff and parents. The task force will conduct a thorough program review and provide recommendations to the division.”

"In regard to benefits, drivers have access to all benefits offered to eligible employees. The only mandatory deductions are payroll taxes and VRS contributions; all other benefits or deductions are voluntary. As with any employee, the amount withheld from each paycheck is dependent on the benefits selected by the employee.”

Despite an informative response, the school system did not address the issue of pay equity for their bus drivers. With county wages lagging behind living wages, bus drivers for the school system state that they find themselves in a difficult position with some reliant upon government assistance. If you would to address the school system regarding this matter, the next regular school board meeting will be at 7:00 P.M. on Monday, August 27, at York Hall.


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