Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff:
I want to provide you with an update on transportation services for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS). As you all are familiar, the school system recently experienced bus service interruptions over several school days caused by a driver sick out. While the sick-outs have ceased, for now, CCPS is still working with bus contractors to address driver and attendant concerns. I want you to be prepared in case we experience bus service interruptions again. We are hearing reports of possible sick-outs for the week of Nov. 29.
The staff has been working with contractors, drivers, and attendants to address raised concerns. We have also received a few contract proposals from drivers and attendants for consideration. However, our discussions take place annually with contractors since CCPS pays contractors who in turn pay drivers and attendants.
CCPS and the Board of Education implemented two short-term solutions that immediately impacted drivers and attendants: a four percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) effective this month for support staff that drivers and attendants also receive; and a one-time $1,000 payment to CCPS staff payable in two payments of which bus drivers and attendants also receive. These measures were put in place to show bus drivers and attendants that CCPS is hearing their concerns.
On Nov. 10, CCPS transportation staff met with bus contractors to provide them with proposed contract changes that would take effect next school year. The changes are a long-term solution to address driver and attendant salary disparities. Included in the proposed changes are two additional salary scale steps, hourly rate increases for all drivers and attendants, and an additional contribution to the driver and attendant retirement. A copy of the proposed contract changes is posted here on the school system website.
CCPS also pays each contractor a 24.94 percent fixed charge on the hourly rate for drivers and attendants that applies to workers’ compensation, social security, Maryland unemployment, Federal unemployment, and payroll compensation. The disbursement of these funds by contractors must follow both state and federal laws.
The following are important highlights from the proposed contract changes.
Six steps on the salary scale for years of service (current contract has four steps).
Increase of at least $2 per hour for starting drivers, with a driver of 25 years or more experience receiving at least an $8 increase per hour.
Nearly 20 percent of CCPS drivers will receive at least a $6 per hour raise next year (drivers with 20 plus years of service).
Current driver hourly rates – 289 drivers
- Step 1: 0-4 years of experience: $20.92 (73 drivers)
- Step 2: 5-9 years of experience: $21.37 (76 drivers)
- Step 3: 10-19 years of experience: $21.86 (84 drivers)
- Step 4: 20 plus years of experience: $22.85 (56 drivers)
2022-2023 proposed contract scale and hourly rates
- Step 1: 0-4 years of experience: $23 ($2.08 raise)
- Step 2: 5-9 years of experience: $24 ($2.63 raise)
- Step 3: 10-14 years of experience: $25 ($3.14 raise)
- Step 4: 15-19 years of experience: $27 ($5.14 raise)
- Step 5: 20-24 years of experience: $29 ($6.15 raise)
- Step 6: 25 plus years of experience: $31 ($8.15 raise)
The proposed changes also include an increased retirement contribution by CCPS from $487.50 to $1,000 annually. A breakdown of the proposed contract changes, which also includes the rate increases for bus attendants, is posted here on the school system website.
CCPS asked contractors to share the proposed changes for the next school year with drivers and attendants. We continue to hear concerns from drivers and attendants who want immediate solutions that we are addressing. Not only is the school system focusing on salary and benefit concerns from bus drivers and attendants, CCPS is also focusing on providing a competitive salary and benefits package to attract and retain our workforce.
Transportation for our students is a top priority but paying our staff livable salaries and wages is also a top priority. CCPS, like many other school districts, is managing a workforce shortage and many of our employees live in Charles County. We want our employees to be able to afford to live in the community in which they work.
I will keep you updated on any changes to our transportation services and provide quick notifications if our services may be interrupted. Thank you for your continued support of drivers, attendants, our schools, teachers, and staff. I appreciate our community continuing to work together to support children.
Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools