Veteran Muscogee County school bus driver says proposal for pay raise isn't fair

Veteran Muscogee County school bus driver says proposal for pay raise isn't fair

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - School bus drivers in Muscogee County could be seeing a pay raise.

This proposal comes after a discussion on the lack of drivers and recent transportation issues. One bus driver who wishes to remain anonymous says it's not fair for those who've worked behind the wheel for some time.

"It's a slap in my face. I've been out there 20 years driving and if these people coming in here  get that $17, they're right up there with me."

John Thomas, District 2 school board member,  presented the proposal in this week's school board session. Thomas' co-proposal suggests raising bus drivers' pay to $17an hour on top of including incentives like a dollar increase each year he or she serves the district and with a six-month bonus. District 8 member Frank Myers says it's all about addressing the need for the children.

"This is something that affects the daily lives of families all over Columbus, Georgia. People are waiting hours on the buses and it's just... It can be fixed," says Myers.

The district now offers $8 an hour to those in training and a starting pay of $14.66 an hour to qualified drivers. He says the proposal is all about filling the shortage of bus drivers in Muscogee County.

"These bus drivers know that they're not going to get rich driving a bus. We've got to raise the pay to a level to keep people interested and to keep people engaged and to make people feel like they're appreciated," says Myers.

The veteran bus driver says it's only fair to have new drivers work their way up to that $17 number.

"It is wrong for them to even consider that. If you're going to hire some new bus drivers, start them off like we started off."

Myers says the board has the funds to implement the change after an increase in the board's budget this year.

"Our budget is $20 million higher than it was last fiscal year. This proposal that  Thomas wrote, and I'm supporting, will cost $300,000  a year. There's plenty of money," says Myers.

The vote will happen next week. We'll have the latest for you when a decision is made.

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