Anne Arundel Announces New Bonuses for School Bus Drivers

Today, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and and the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (AAWDC) announced a new series of hiring and retention bonuses to address the county’s ongoing school bus driver challenges.

The financial incentives come as Anne Arundel County and the rest of Maryland continue to face a shortage in school bus drivers and aides linked to COVID-19 industry departures.

Under the new incentive program, school bus drivers will receive $5,000 retention or new hire bonuses, while aides will receive $2,000 retention or new hire bonuses. The bonuses will be paid via contracts between AAWDC and school bus contractors.

Anne Arundel will use a portion of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to finance the program. A county press release explains that move:

By using a portion of the County’s American Rescue Plan funds, the money will reach drivers faster while coming in at a lower cost than the request last month by Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS). The Board of Education’s request was submitted to the County Council as Bill 88-21. County Executive Pittman’s plan for retention and new hire bonuses will cost $4.2 million, less than half of the $9.7 million total price tag of the Board’s initial request. As a result, the legislation containing the appropriation request will be withdrawn.

The bonuses will be paid to drivers and aides in three installments:

Retention ($5,000 Drivers/$2,000 Aides)

  • $2,500/$1,000 immediately when the program starts and contracts are completed with their respective employer.
  • $500/$200 on the first pay date in March 2022.
  • $2,000/$800 on the last pay date of the school year in June 2022.

New Hire ($5,000 Drivers/$2,000 Aides)

  • $2,500/$1,000 after the first week working an AACPS bus route.
  • $500/$200 after 90 days of working.
  • $2,000/$800 on the last pay date of the school year in June 2022.

Payments will begin reaching contracted drivers and aides in the coming weeks, once AAWDC finalizes contracts with individual bus contractors.

Read the full Anne Arundel press release.

Access prior Conduit Street coverage on the school bus driver shortage: