School Officials Look At Restructuring Drivers’ Pay
A shortage of bus drivers is forcing Mercer County school officials to consolidate bus routes, which is in turn causing some students to be late getting home or to school. School officials have offered a $500 bonus to new drivers and have actively recruited at hiring events around the area, but they’re still short-handed.
The fact is, there just aren’t that many job applicants out there. The September 2018 unemployment rate in Mercer County was 4.1 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics. The Federal Reserve considers a base unemployment rate of 5.0 to 5.2 percent as “full employment.”
At the Nov. 15 meeting of the Mercer County Board of Education, the board raised the field trip rate for bus drivers from $10.25 an hour to $13 an hour.
“That’s just one of many things we’re looking at,” said Superintendent Dennis Davis. Davis said the district would also take a look at restructuring bus driver pay. “The board is looking at all they can do to help certified staff, especially bus drivers,” he said.
Mercer Schools will also need to replace Food Service Director Marsha Davis, who has left the district.
“She’s done a tremendous job, we’re going to miss her,” said Dennis Davis. He said when she started, food service was running a consistent deficit. Today, the department averages around a $400,000 surplus, he said, even with the expansion of the summer feeding program under Marsha Davis’ tenure.
The next Mercer Board of Education meeting will be held on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Harlow Education Center.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.