Polk County Board of Education takes step Monday to tackle need for bus drivers
Published 12:21 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022
At its regularly scheduled meeting, the Board voted to increase bus driver pay by $3.50 per hour. Citing the ongoing shortage of school bus drivers across the country, Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene explained an increase was needed to not only attract new drivers, but to retain current drivers that may encounter better options. The increase will place starting pay for bus drivers at slightly more than $20 per hour.
“Our drivers are very important and carry the most valuable cargo,” Greene said. “When we have to park buses due to not having enough drivers, it impacts our students and families negatively. Our goal is to provide safe and reliable transportation for our students, and to do so we need drivers.
“We simply have to keep up with the pay the private sector is offering to ensure we can attract and retain school bus drivers.”
Polk County Schools currently needs at least four new drivers and will likely see more turnover in the period ahead as long-time drivers move into retirement. Polk County Schools urges anyone willing to serve as a school bus driver to contact the Human Resources department at 828-894-3051.
In other business:
* Prior to the regular meeting, board members participated in a work session in which schools presented their School Improvement Plans for the upcoming year, with all plans being approved by the board.
* Board members heard brief comments from N.C. Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year finalist Chauncey Barber, an agricultural teacher at Polk County High School, and they commended him on the outstanding work he has done for his students, school and community over the years.
* The board heard details regarding district and school safety plans in closed session and approved those plans for the 2022-2023 school year.
* The board voted to approve overnight field trips for students involved with FFA Land Judging and Vet Science.
* The board approved an updated Attendance Policy (4400) on the second reading, making the policy official.
The next Polk County Board of Education meeting will be held on November 14.