Fayette school budget examination may include look at schoolbus drivers

Fayette County schoolbuses parked behind the central office in Fayetteville. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Questions have arisen about the salaries and benefits received by bus drivers working in the Fayette County School System. Bus drivers are among the lowest paid of the more than 3,000 school system employees, but the benefits they receive — most of which are paid by their employer — may make the part-time job one that is desirable for many.

The school system currently employs 206 drivers in the part-time position. The salary schedule for bus drivers provided by the school system shows an entry level annual salary of $11,498. Salary increases are contained in 17 levels and top out at $18,528. The current systemwide average salary for bus drivers is $12,433.11, according to the school system.

And what about the benefits for bus drivers? The big one, in a day of shrinking benefits across the country, is healthcare. The school system pays the large majority of the cost of single coverage for the bus driver, which totals $4,407 per year and includes a $296.20 monthly employer-paid premium payment along with a $71.14 monthly supplement, also paid by the school system. Bus drivers pay $50-60 per month for the coverage.

Fayette school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said December 2011 records indicate that 176 of the 206 drivers receive the healthcare benefit.

Drivers are also eligible for single-coverage dental insurance for which the school system pays $264 per year. The December payroll indicated that 161 drivers took the benefit. Bus drivers pay approximately $12 per month.

The school system also pays for long-term disability insurance at $9.83 per month or $117.96 per year, at no cost to the employee.

And the school system pays for a portion of life insurance, though that number was not available, as well as the system’s share of Social Security and Medicare, generally slightly under 8 percent of the employee’s wages.

On average, drivers work about 22.5 hours each week, according to Berry-Dreisbach.

New drivers are assigned to a level based on experience.

“For every two years of bus driving experience a driver is assigned a level on the pay scale. The maximum level an incoming driver can obtain is Level 5. So if a driver has two years of experience he or she would be assigned to Level 1; four years would be Level 2; six years would be Level 3, etc. For now, drivers are remaining at the levels at which they were hired since we have not been getting level increases due to budget restrictions,” said Berry-Dreisbach.

But there is a bit more to the story for bus drivers. Drivers average $12,433.11 in Fayette County but the state pays only $9,574.16 per driver for 92 drivers. With Fayette employing 206 bus drivers, that means that another 114 drivers are paid exclusively by the school system.

That translates into Fayette County taxpayers picking up the tab totaling $263,028 for the 92 bus drivers for whom the state does not pay the total salary and $1,417,362 for the total salary of the remaining 114 drivers not covered by the state.

mamadutt
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less drivers

Well, you may be driving own kids but up on north end we have 13 buses just at one elementary! The population is not shrinking too much up here. We have buses with 75 children on board. The schools are overcrowded but we are not allowed to move to the beautiful new larger school. They want us cramped into the smaller older one. I am personally involved in this debate, but choose to stay here because the teachers are the best! I am lucky to have husbands benefits right now, but many drivers do not have that luxury. I am concerned at the safety of our children if lack of drivers. I am really not looking forward to the future here in Fayette Co.

mamadutt
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less drivers

Well, you may be driving own kids but up on north end we have 13 buses just at one elementary! The population is not shrinking too much up here. We have buses with 75 children on board. The schools are overcrowded but we are not allowed to move to the beautiful new larger school. They want us cramped into the smaller older one. I am personally involved in this debate, but choose to stay here because the teachers are the best! I am lucky to have husbands benefits right now, but many drivers do not have that luxury. I am concerned at the safety of our children if lack of drivers. I am really not looking forward to the future here in Fayette Co.

mamadutt
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less drivers

Well, you may be driving own kids but up on north end we have 13 buses just at one elementary! The population is not shrinking too much up here. We have buses with 75 children on board. The schools are overcrowded but we are not allowed to move to the beautiful new larger school. They want us cramped into the smaller older one. I am personally involved in this debate, but choose to stay here because the teachers are the best! I am lucky to have husbands benefits right now, but many drivers do not have that luxury. I am concerned at the safety of our children if lack of drivers. I am really not looking forward to the future here in Fayette Co.

mamadutt
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Too much benefits for bus drivers?

How many jobs do you have the responsibility of 40 + children while driving a large vehicle? Have you ever driven 1 or 2 maybe 3 kids and try to focus on the road while they are calling you and telling you that the other pushed them or looked at them wrong, bouncing up and down, moving about- well multiply that by 10 or more and you have the job of a bus driver and the very important job they have. They are also the first person to greet your child in the morning, last to say have a good day, help them with boo-boos etc. Most of the drivers do this job not for the money, but for the love of the kids. If it was for the money why aren't there more. There are always openings and people looking for jobs, but won't apply. The benefits are very good and some people this is a major benefit. If taken away, I can guarantee you, there would be fewer drivers. Fewer drivers will also mean parents would have to transport the children to school. Just imagine the traffic at the schools then since it is already terrible now!
Maybe consolidating some routes may help to eliminate some of the buses. I know as a parent, I want to have a safe means of transporting my children to school. Making it hard for a low income bus driver would mean it would be hard on me finding alternative transportation. We have many rural areas here in Fayette and walking to school on dark roads is not an option. We do not have sidewalks and crossing guards like back in my day when I walked 2 miles to school or rode my bike. Things were safer and I didn't worry about child molesters or predators either. Think about your statements about the bus drivers. Unless you are willing to take on that responsibility or drive children yourself, you should find another way to cut.

Gene61
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Quote : Unless you are

Quote : Unless you are willing to take on that responsibility or drive children yourself, you should find another way to cut.

We do that everday operating our own personal vehicle with our own children on board..Few drivers does not automatically means longer lines or more parents transpoting children , given the fact the student population according the latest figures is actually shrinking..

Gene61
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Fewer Students..
mamadutt
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Too much benefits for bus drivers?

How many jobs do you have the responsibility of 40 + children while driving a large vehicle? Have you ever driven 1 or 2 maybe 3 kids and try to focus on the road while they are calling you and telling you that the other pushed them or looked at them wrong, bouncing up and down, moving about- well multiply that by 10 or more and you have the job of a bus driver and the very important job they have. They are also the first person to greet your child in the morning, last to say have a good day, help them with boo-boos etc. Most of the drivers do this job not for the money, but for the love of the kids. If it was for the money why aren't there more. There are always openings and people looking for jobs, but won't apply. The benefits are very good and some people this is a major benefit. If taken away, I can guarantee you, there would be fewer drivers. Fewer drivers will also mean parents would have to transport the children to school. Just imagine the traffic at the schools then since it is already terrible now!
Maybe consolidating some routes may help to eliminate some of the buses. I know as a parent, I want to have a safe means of transporting my children to school. Making it hard for a low income bus driver would mean it would be hard on me finding alternative transportation. We have many rural areas here in Fayette and walking to school on dark roads is not an option. We do not have sidewalks and crossing guards like back in my day when I walked 2 miles to school or rode my bike. Things were safer and I didn't worry about child molesters or predators either. Think about your statements about the bus drivers. Unless you are willing to take on that responsibility or drive children yourself, you should find another way to cut.

suggarfoot
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tisk tisk

we know Smola needs those bus drivers and busses for the air show! If that was out sourced, as in many states, she would have to do something else.

Robert W. Morgan
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Air show is no more

In fact the Navy and Air Force demo flying teams are no more thanks to Prezbo's cuts of the military.
Too bad, that was a great event and brought a lot of tourism dollars into the city.

grizz
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R W Morgan
Robert W. Morgan wrote:

In fact the Navy and Air Force demo flying teams are no more thanks to Prezbo's cuts of the military.

But at least Muslim nations feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering. They wouldn't have that feeling if it weren't for Prezbo. NASA is S.O.L, but the Muslims feel good and that's all that matters.....right?

MYTMITE
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How true Robert. The air show will be sorely missed. Not only

did it bring in tourist dollars but the different groups manning booths made money to carry out their projects for the year. I know my group made enough money each year to domate two thousand dollar scholarships to a graduating senior at each of our high schools, give holdiday food and gifts to needy families, give to the Battered Women's Shelter as well as Samaritan Purse, etc. during the year. It was a great way to work hard for several days while having an enjoyable time and earn money to help your neighbothood for the year. We will have to curtail much of our giving as there is really nothing else that will bring in the money we were able to make. I am sure the other groups who manned booths are having the same problem-the air show will be missed.

Gene61
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Fayette school budget examination may include look at schoolbus

Time to look into this big time..Nice benefits for part time work and the county is left holding most of the bag..

G35 Dude
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Part Time job
Quote:

Time to look into this big time..Nice benefits for part time work and the county is left holding most of the bag..

Can you name another "part time" job that has such a high liability?

Gene61
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Quote: Can you name another

Quote:

Can you name another "part time" job that has such a high liability?

Yes, the part time burger flipper , EVERY position has some sort of liability assocaited with it..

MYTMITE
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Ah, Gene I have no children in school, not a bus driver or a

teacher but have to wonder, unless you were just being 'flippant'--no pun intended, when you equated a school bus driver with a burger flipper.
If I am flipping burgers and grease plops on me and/or a fellow flipper, we might get burned-----probably not too badly--or get obese from sneaking too many of those greasy burgers. On the other hand, that bus driver is responsible for all those little Susies and Billys. You have to make sure the children are safe--from accidents that may be caused by careless drivers, from bullying by other kids and be able to handle whatever emergency arises. If you have ever driven a car or van with just four or more kids to a movie or school function you know what the noise level can be and also the spats that ensue--if you are like most parents you probably were ready to pull out your hair before you reached your destination--now multiply this by the number of kids on that bus and twice a day---can you imagine that ride home when those kids are all hyped up--- just getting them to sit down would be a headache. Thanks, but no thanks, I'll pass on the 'plush' job and give it with thanks and gratitude to the drivers that do it day in day out.

G35 Dude
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Wow
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Yes, the part time burger flipper , EVERY position has some sort of liability assocaited with it..

I can no longer take you seriously. Not after that statement.

Gene61
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G35 Dude
G35 Dude wrote:
Quote:

Yes, the part time burger flipper , EVERY position has some sort of liability assocaited with it..

I can no longer take you seriously. Not after that statement.

Don't be offened if I don't lose sleep over it..

Again, every job has some sort liability assocated with it, the fact and point still stand...

Well this subject in my opinion has run its course..

G35 Dude
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No Problem
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Don't be offened if I don't lose sleep over it..

Don't worry I'm not offened. I'm not even offended.

Gene61
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Fayette school budget examination may include look at schoolbus

Time to look into this bug time..Nice benefits for part time work and the county is left holding most of the bag..

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