school bus drivers

PGCPS Changes How It Compensates Bus Drivers After Complaints in Effort to Reduce Turnover

Two days after a News4 report, PGCPS sent an email to drivers saying the school system must have a consistent payment method when drivers double routes not part of their daily assignment.

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Delays and unreliable transportation continue for students who use Prince George's County Public School (PGCPS) buses, which some county bus drivers blame on a high turnover caused by a cut in work hours and unfair pay. 

While school administrators cite a national bus driver shortage for the issues, some drivers tell a different story. A month into the school year, the school system is changing how it's compensating its drivers.  

Multiple bus drivers told News4 on Sept. 21 that the shortage Prince George's County is experiencing is compounded by how drivers are paid hourly. Most, they say, are scheduled for five and six hours of work a day, with very few getting eight. 

“If we make eight hours, it goes toward our pension,” bus driver Roslyn Jefferson Nedeau said.  

And when drivers pick up extra schools, that can mean more work for the same pay. 

“Some of us are living paycheck to paycheck. We're trying to put food on the table, provide for our families,” driver Roy Roland said.  

Two days after a News4 report, PGCPS sent an email to drivers announcing temporary changes in compensation. They said the school system must have a consistent payment method when drivers double routes not part of their daily assignment.

They also said compensation for overtime and extra time must be provided equitably, and that it's the school district’s top priority to ensure the PGCPS Transportation team is compensated for their hard work.

 “When we looked at the email we were like, OK, OK, they get it,” Roland said.  

Transportation Supervisor Carl Shcuettler said with PGCPS still short some 200 drivers, students will still be impacted, but hopefully the pay change will keep the drivers they have. 

“Originally the expectation was, ‘Hey, you’re already working during those hours, so can you please help us out?’ We realize that wasn’t as successful as we would have wished or would have liked it to have been,” Shcuettler said. “We try to support all of our drivers and we want to make them feel appreciated and know we support them 100 percent.”

Some drivers, however, are still concerned that this adjustment in pay is just for this school year. They argue that if the school system made a more permanent change, they'd do a better job of retaining drivers.

PGCPS is continuing to hire drivers. Another bus driver job fair will take place this Wednesday. For more information, visit the school district’s website.

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