The Cumberland County School Board approves incentives for bus drivers at their meeting Thursday night.
It includes a quarterly safety and attendance bonuses of $150, snow day payments for teachers who also serve as bus drivers, and the start of a pilot program that will place attendants on some school buses to help drivers with students.
The money to pay for these items, along with incentives for recruiting new drivers, comes from $100,000 that was designated to paint the exterior of Martin Elementary.
School Board Chairwoman Teresa Boston suggested that. Boston told the board that Martin Elementary was not in need of having all of the exterior of the school painted at this time and the money could go to help the school bus driver situation.
However, the decision did not come without some debate.
School board member Jim Inman cautioned the board that if they take a one-time expense to cover a cost that will be every year, where would the money come from the next school year to cover the incentives?
Boston said she would hold off making a motion until further information could be obtained.
Board member Rebecca Hamby told the board “we need to take care of our students, staff and especially the school bus drivers before building upkeep.”
School board member Stace Karge took the opportunity and made the motion for the three incentives. It received a quick second by school board member Shirley Parris. The motion passed.
A second motion was made to do a resolution to move the $100,000 into the appropriate account to cover the incentives. It received a second and passed.
The vote comes during a bus driver shortage in Cumberland County. The school system is still six drivers short as of Thursday night.