Education

Rock Hill schools can’t find enough bus drivers. They hope this move will help.

Rock Hill schools increased bus driver pay to be more competitive with other York County school districts.
Rock Hill schools increased bus driver pay to be more competitive with other York County school districts. tkimball@heraldonline.com

Bus drivers in Rock Hill will get a pay raise.

Rock Hill school district administration proposed on Jan. 8 to increase bus driver salaries. The pay increase would amount to 50 cents an hour for drivers with 11-19 years of experience, and $1.25 an hour for drivers with at least 20 years of experience, said Terri Smith, the district’s chief finance officer.

The school board unanimously approved the increase Monday. The new pay schedule will go into effect for the February pay period.

That brings the salary of a Rock Hill bus driver with 19 years of experience up to $16.44 an hour and up to $18.45 an hour for a bus driver with 26 years of experience, Smith said.

The increase will cost the district $61,000 for the remainder of this fiscal year and $120,000 a year going forward, Smith said. The district will include the cost in its general fund budget.

The pay increase comes as other York County school districts are raising pay to attract bus drivers.

Rock Hill, like other school districts across the nation, is facing a challenge finding and keeping bus drivers.

Rock Hill’s pay is still below Fort Mill, which is currently the highest paying York County school district for bus drivers.

A Fort Mill bus driver with 19 years of experience makes $21.09 an hour and a driver with 26 years of experience makes $22.63 an hour, which is $5 more than what Rock Hill pays.

Clover also pays bus drivers more than Rock Hill. A Clover bus driver with 19 years of experience makes $20.33 an hour and a driver with 26 years of experience makes $23.18 an hour.

York schools pay bus drivers with 19 years of experience $16.63 an hour. Drivers with 26 years of experience in York make $17.54 an hour.

Smith said Rock Hill cannot afford to match Fort Mill or Clover’s salaries, but the increase gets them closer.

“It makes us a little more competitive,” school board Chair Jim Vining said.

School board member Helena Miller said she is happy to support the increase, but wishes the district could afford to support pay raises in other areas.

“I wish that we were fully funded from the state to where we can implement all of the salary adjustments that we need to do to remain competitive,” she said. “That’s something we collectively have to work towards. Our bus drivers have a very difficult job and hopefully this will help them out a little bit.”

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082

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