Share This Page

Plum officials hope pay hike for bus drivers leads to more interest

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Plum School District's bus driver situation is looking brighter.

The school board during a meeting Tuesday nightwas expected to consider hiring three drivers, bringing the total to 45, according to district transportation Manager Scott Mergen.

Mergen believes the board's action last month to increase pay rates for bus drivers paved the way for interest in the jobs.

“It is definitely looking more positive now,” Mergen said Monday. “The wage increase brought the beginning pay rate up to the market rate.”

The Plum School Board during its Aug. 27 meeting voted to approve raising the rate for new drivers to $16 an hour. Previously, new drivers were paid a percentage of the $16.91 an hour rate until they worked for 36 months.

Also the board voted to approve raising the top pay rate for bus drivers from $16.91 an hour to $17 an hour.

Bus driver Donna Meanor, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1595, said the agreement was reached during an Aug. 26 meeting. Meanor said she, Superintendent Timothy Glasspool and Mergen worked on the rates.

“We need drivers really, really bad,” Meanor had said.

The board also voted to approve higher rates for bus aides and substitute aides.

The district's bus drivers earlier this year had agreed to a $4.23 an hour wage cut for the 2013-14 school year.

Mergen said on Monday that the need for additional drivers became more urgent when three additional bus routes were added at the beginning of the school year.

Mergen said the three routes were created by overcrowding on a few buses.

The district currently is outsourcing 11 routes because of a lack of drivers, Mergen said.

New drivers who have not previously driven school buses begin their duties after they complete the mandated classroom and driving instruction as well as pass a driver's test. They also must pass security clearances to be on the job.

The district also has some new buses to replace aging ones, Mergen said.

Board members approved spending $105,000 to purchase seven buses that are 10 years old.

“They (the buses that are being replaced) are too old and too rusted,” Mergen said. “We didn't feel they were safe any longer.”

Mergen said the district also purchased three new 48-passenger buses to upgrade the fleet.

Mergen is pleased with the pay hikes and bus purchases.

“Now I feel we can compete for drivers,” Mergen said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.