Shortage could lead to pay raise for Williamson County bus drivers

Photo: WKRN

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – School bus drivers in Williamson County could soon get a pay raise as part of a plan to recruit more drivers.

Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney is proposing a pay raise immediately to address a bus driver shortage.

The district currently employs 222 drivers, about 20 short of being fully staffed.

Recruiting new drivers isn’t easy. Traditionally, the job doesn’t pay very well, which doesn’t bode well in Williamson County where the cost of living is high.

The shortage of drivers means some children end up waiting longer at bus stops, which can lead to students being late for school.

Looney’s proposal would increase the pay for inexperienced drivers from an hourly wage of $14.72 to $17.25.

For veteran drivers with at least 16 years experience, the hourly wage would increase from $17.22 to $24.05.

“The overwhelming feedback that we’ve had from our parents in our community is ‘pay the bus drivers what they deserve so that you can have our students get to school on time,’” Looney told News 2. “We got the message loud and clear.”

The pay raises for current and unfilled positions will cost WCS about $623,000 this year.

The Williamson County School Board is expected to vote on the measure Monday night.