Lake County school district agrees to pay raises for bus drivers, service staff

District officials hope pay raises will help recruit, retain drivers amid shortage

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Lake County Public Schools announced Friday it has reached a tentative agreement with the Service Employees International Union to provide a 6% pay increase for bus drivers and other school service staff.

The district said the raise would be applied for bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and other classified employees. The agreement includes a $1,000 critical shortage bonus for bus drivers, whom many Central Florida districts have had difficulty in hiring.

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“These employees are essential to the work we do in support of our students,” Superintendent Diane Kornegay said. “They are valued and appreciated, and the pay increase is very well deserved.”

The $1,000 critical shortage bonus provides $500 each semester for bus drivers and other hard-to-fill positions, district officials said. Officials added that the district is in short supply of bus drivers, having only 11 lead drivers to fill some positions until additional drivers are hired.

“I plan to create engaging ads and social media campaigns to promote the upcoming raise as soon as the agreement is ratified,” said Jamie West, a non-instructional recruitment partner for the district. “We anticipate the applicant numbers to increase due to the competitive pay changes. We also predict that school bus drivers will see the largest turnaround when it comes to quantity of applicants due to this pay increase and the supplemental bonuses for the position.”

Classified employees are expected to vote on the plan in September. If passed, the pay increases would go into effect following ratification and school board approval.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.