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TESD increases bus drivers’ wages to $24 per hour

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By Vaishnavi Sriadibhatla, Staff Reporter

In effect for the remainder of the 2023-24 fiscal school year, the TESD school board  increased bus drivers’ wages on Nov. 20. The board  negotiated new amendments to the current contract it has with third-party bus contractors, the Krapf Group and On The Go Kids, increasing the commercial driver’s license driver hourly pay rate from $21  to $24 per hour.

The school district and the bus contractor companies both agreed to split the costs of the increase.  With the new daily rate in effect, the annual cost increase for the district transportation budget will be approximately $310,000. 

TESD’s business administration office originally recommended this change to the school board. The office had received requests from the contractors at the beginning of the school year, stating that several bus drivers wanted to drive routes for other school districts due to their higher wages. The business office then conducted a study in collaboration with the TESD Human Resources Department comparing the district’s wages to those of neighboring school districts.

The results found that the contractors’ concerns were legitimate and that T/E had lower bus driver wages than other school districts in Chester County. The business and HR department recommended further review of the issue to the school board’s finance committee, which presented an official proposal at its November meeting. The school board then officially reviewed and approved the proposal on Jan. 22.

TESD school board president Todd Kantorczyk hopes that the wage increase will help reduce the effects of the lengthy, ongoing post-pandemic bus driver shortage. With the policy in effect, he envisions a reduction in students’ travel times.

“The district would love to have more routes and more bus drivers. They just are not out there at the moment. So, the hope is that the increase will at worst maintain the status quo and hopefully get in some more bus drivers which will impact the T/E community in terms of making sure that the kids are home earlier and the buses are on the roads for less time,” Kantorczyk said.

Arthur Ume, a T/E bus driver working under The Krapf Group, is happy about the wage increase. He believes that bus drivers should receive sufficient pay for their efforts and said that being a bus driver is a high-stakes job that comes with a lot of responsibilities.

“It is not only about the salary. It has to come from the passion to mentor kids, to mentor students. Most of us are doing this job because of that, not because of the pay,” Ume said. “If someone does not have the passion, they cannot be a school bus driver because this is a huge responsibility. You are carrying kids. Their safety is in your hands. So, it is a big, big responsibility, and takes a lot of nerves to do.”


Vaishnavi Sriadibhatla can be reached at  [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Vaishnavi Sriadibhatla, Staff Reporter
Vaishnavi Sriadibhatla is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She enjoys covering news and events occurring within the T/E community. Outside of The Spoke, Vaishnavi teaches karate and participates in numerous clubs including Peer Mediation and HOSA.