Seminole County Schools add bonuses to keep bus drivers on the job

The Seminole County Public School district is trying to keep its bus drivers behind the wheel.

"They are one of the backbones of our district. They are why we are so successful and we understand that they have been doing a lot."

Spokesperson Michael Lawrence says he understands they have been putting in extra work. The last thing they want is to see bus drivers walk out.

"Our number one goal is to make sure that our kids aren’t suffering. That’s a no win situation for anybody," said Lawrence.

Just this week the district launched a new bonus plan that would give drivers an additional $1,150 for perfect attendance through the school year. They are also giving drivers $500 for each referral that gets hired.

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"Really we were able to make happen because there is a shortage of bus drivers right now," he said.

About 50 bus drivers are needed. Former school bus driver Steve Bowe said it’s not just the low pay but the pandemic that is causing the shortage.

"As a school bus driver you have these kids coming in there coughing, everything is contained. You have a greater chance of catching COVID," said Bowe.

The union representing the bus drivers say they are negotiating with the school district on higher wages and other concerns.

They are urging their drivers continue going to work.