ASD increases starting wages for bus drivers and looks to create more efficient routes

Anchorage School District is increasing their starting bus driver wage by $5.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 3:23 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Getting to 228 school bus drivers has been the magic number for the Anchorage School District this school year as the district continues to look to hire additional bus drivers to fill the bus driver shortage the district faces.

As of Tuesday, the district said they had 202 bus drivers in rotation with an additional 20 bus drivers in training and nine more preparing to start classes next week.

“These people are heroes as far as we’re concerned,” ASD Maintenance and Operations Director Rob Holland said. “So we are very close to where we would have been with full service had we not had the interruption.”

The district hit a wall earlier this fall after drivers they expected to work for them turned to the tourism industry.

“That industry has been paying quite a bit more than we were paying. So there is a competitive nature to that dynamic,” Holland said.

However, a new pay raise from ASD could be changing that. The district is increasing starting pay for drivers from $20.68 to $25.

“We are now confident that we will be able to retain drivers throughout the year,” Holland said.

Additionally, the district has been speaking with a consultant in ways they can make their routes more efficient.

“It looks like we will be able to consolidate some routes and create efficiencies with the actual paths that the buses take,” Holland said. “We know we are emerging from this more efficiently than we have been in the past.”

ASD said they will be speaking with the consultant over the next few days. By making the routes more efficient, the district believes they will be able to have fewer bus drivers on hand. However, they are not aware of what that number will look like yet.