Drivers receive pay hike
By STU MERRY
Bus drivers with the Garrison School District have a new pact for the coming school year.
At the regular meeting this past Thursday, held at the Garrison City Auditorium, the school board juggled the pros and cons of three proposals, weighing what would be agreeable to both the district and drivers.
Superintendent Steve Brannan proposed an $8 per day rate increase ($42 to $50) and 3 cent-per-mile daily increase on mileage. That adds up to a 17 percent daily increase and 7 percent increase on mileage. The plan would cost the district about $10,000.
After some discussion and facing the reality of how difficult it has been to secure route drivers, Board President Rodger Affeldt put pencil to paper. He proposed raising the per day rate from ($42 to $60) plus 3 cents per mile increase. He also suggested that any cash incentive that might be offered to new drivers should also be given to current drivers. This plan would cost the district from $18,000 to $20,000.
Attending the meeting was long-time driver Joe Price. He shared a proposal of $65 per day and a 5 cent-per-mile increase. That suggestion had been thrown out at last month’s transportation committee meeting. This option would cost the district approximately $25,000.
The board discussed what had been presented. "Our drivers need to know how important they are," board member Lisa Maki said. "I want to reward these drivers."
Fellow board member Carl Young added: "We’d like to offer them the world, but we just can’t and they understand that."
In the end the board agreed to take Affeldt’s recommendation of $60 per day across the board. A beginning driver would receive 37 cents per mile (graduated scale based on experience) with veteran drivers pocketing 45 cents per mile. The new plan takes effect when the new school year begins in August.