More money for bus drivers? Buckingham board considers raises

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The frustrations started piling up last week in Albemarle County. Parents started scrambling to figure out how 900 children would be taken to and picked up from school, due to bus driver shortages in the county. Wanting better pay, some Albemarle bus drivers walked off the job in protest, three days before classes started. Buckingham County officials said they want to prevent something similar from happening here.  

“We don’t want to see this happen in Buckingham, so we’ll work with the school board to give bus drivers a raise next month,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Joe Chambers. “They’re doing a good job.”

According to Buckingham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Keebler, there are currently 38 bus drivers in the district. Fortunately for the county, there are only two open positions that still need to be filled. This new raise will hopefully help fill those positions while preventing more openings as the school year moves forward. 

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“The increase in pay would be well received by our drivers,” said Keebler.

Supervisors considered the idea during their Monday, Aug. 14 meeting. Echoing Chamber’s comments, Supervisor Cameron Gilliam of District 2 shared his thoughts on the matter. As the owner of Gilliam Motors in Dillwyn, Gilliam has gotten to know many members of the community, including a few bus drivers who help out after their route. 

“These guys and girls probably have one of the most dangerous jobs and most stressful jobs that you could ask for, hauling people’s kids,” he said. “And basically their whole day is tied up. You know, they work a couple hours in the morning, a couple hours in the evening, they can’t hardly do anything during the day.”

According to Gilliam, even though the drivers have free time in between the routes, most don’t even have the time to come by the store in that timeframe to pick up their car. 

What’s next for bus drivers? 

To be clear, nothing’s been voted on. There is currently no set amount deciding how large this proposed raise would be. The board of supervisors plans to work with the school board to have a dollar figure in mind for their September meeting.