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Bus drivers deserve better, and so do our kids

Date published: 12/10/2012

I guess most of you who have school-age kids in Stafford County have had your child stand out in the cold only to have a school bus never come or be 45 minutes to an hour late. You have possibly been preparing dinner and your elementary school child has not arrived home yet in the evening.

The school division has known since before school started that it was 50 drivers short, and now, three months into the school year, it is still 40 drivers short. The school division, transportation, the School Board, and Stafford County supervisors will not admit that their drivers are underpaid at all pay levels. Fairfax and Prince William counties pay their drivers 20 to 30 percent more per hour than Stafford.

Cola, beer, and food delivery drivers, and even dump-truck drivers make more money. While their jobs are important, there is nothing more important than the safety of your children. Stafford hires and trains drivers at huge expense only to lose drivers to other higher-paying CDL driving jobs. Even drivers who have been driving for years with Stafford are leaving, fed up with not getting competitive wages.

The only answer to hire and keep experienced drivers is to develop a new competitive wage package for all drivers. The next time your child is not picked up or is dropped off very late, I urge you to call or email your county supervisor, your School Board member, or school superintendent and tell them to pay school bus drivers a competitive and living wage.

Jim Adcock