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Eugene School District offers pay boost to attract bus drivers

Brian Bull
Eugene 4J School District has had to cut back on some routes because of the shortage of bus drivers.

The Eugene 4J School District needs bus drivers and it is offering a boost in pay as incentive.

Like many school districts around the state and nation, 4J has a severe bus driver shortage. Kerry Delf is Chief of Staff with the district.

“It’s so critical to be able to get students so school where they can learn,” Delf said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re in the position of needing to consolidate and cancel bus routes at this point and we’re looking to get back to full service.”

Delf says the district will boost hourly wages for all transportation employees by 25% for the rest of the school year. They are also offering up to $1500 in bonuses for those who stick around.

“We will train you, Delf said. “We will provide the support people need to be prepared to drive a bus and help get kids to school. We’d love to see applicants soon.”

Delf said they also need substitute drivers. Once trained, starting pay will be above $20/hour. This change is effective immediately and in place for the duration of the 2021-22 school year.

The school board approved the move last week and the union has ratified it. Many custodians at 4J will get a permanent raise after the district found it was paying below market averages.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.