Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District committee members approved a search for two new bus drivers and a $2 per hour raise for current and starting salaries Sept. 9. Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Keith Laser also received “carte blanche” over another $1,000 to create further incentive such as sign/on bonuses or a further increase in pay.
“Right now we're being held out of school because we don't have enough bus drivers. We have the buses available, we don't have enough drivers and that could continue,” said Laser. “We have five now and we really need seven and there aren't people who want to drive the buses … If you increase the pay like we did for substitutes, we might sweeten the pot for folks who might consider being bus drivers.”
CSD bus drivers make between $17.84 and $20.87 per hour with four hours per day guaranteed and full medical benefits, said Laser. COVID-19 emergency funds will cover the extra money going into bus driver salaries, Laser added.
AOS 98 Facilities and Transportation Director Dave Benner asked for another custodian for each school since the added duties of constant sanitization of high touch areas is proving too much for just one custodian per building at a time. Committee members determined the best solution would be to find someone to work full-time as a bus driver and custodian.
However, member John Bertolet reminded the committee that whatever solution they decide to fund with emergency dollars will need to be addressed when response to COVID-19 is no longer necessary. Said Bertolet, “It's a permanent solution to a problem that might be temporary.”
The committee decided to advertise for one custodian between both schools with the understanding more staffing may be required later to cover persisting custodial shortfalls. Members agreed a custodial/bus driver combination would be ideal in the future.
Said Benner, “We've got to offer full-time hours and some benefits because we can't get part-time help now for a two-hour bus (route) … We pay two hours minimum for a part-time person and last year I think we were offering $14-$15 an hour. That just isn't going to do it … If we had a jack-of-all-trades to drive a bus, do custodial, do maintenance, and would just answer any call, I think that's the type of person we want.”
The committee voted in support of the Lobster Roll 5k committee’s grant application for new running trails on the CSD campus. The grant is through the Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Recreational Trail Development program.
Lobster Roll 5k Committee member and BRHS parent Bruce Harris explained that the application to create a larger trail system came from the committee which set out over a decade ago to build a track on campus. “We kind of came to the conclusion the last couple years that that wasn't going to be viable in the near future. We wanted to do something with the nearly $40,000 that had been raised, so we thought of improving the cross country trails on school property.”