Public school bus drivers ink contract

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Bus drivers have signed up to provide safe, reliable transportation for the Foothills School Division for another two years.

The Foothills School Division #38 Bus Drivers Association has settled with the board until Aug. 31, 2019. The three-year agreement has drivers receiving no raise retroactive to 2016-17 until 2017-18 and one per cent raise for 2018-19.

At present, their salaries (based on a minimum four-hours per day) are $19.79 an hour probationary; $20.30 after 12 months and $22.13 after 24 months. Spare drivers get $19.79.

The agreement was approved by trustees on Nov. 8 in High River.

“I think we did okay — it would have been nice to get more of a raise,” said association president Lorraine Clark. “But with the (Alberta) government sort of micro-managing the schools and their budgets at the moment, I think it came from above that there would be no raises.”

She said drivers will receive double what they did previously for the cost of plugging in school buses during the winter if the buses are left not at a school division site.

They are also receiving more for use of their own cellphones for work and additional funding to health care payments. Drivers are part of the division’s benefit package. She added they also received an additional personal development day.

“That will basically be used up to phone the parents, to pick up the buses and things prior to the school year starting,” she said.

The approximate half dozen substitute drivers will now be paid for ride-alongs, which are used to familiarize drivers with the route. There are 70 routes in the Foothills School Division, transporting about 3,700 students to and from school.

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