Students from Idlewood Elementary School wait for their bus in the 1000 block of Montreal Road in Clarkston on Thursday, April 19, 2018, but it never came. Almost 400 DeKalb County school bus drivers called in sick, in a protest of their pay, retirement benefits and overall treatment. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb Schools: Bus drivers get new retirement, attendance benefits

School bus drivers got an additional retirement benefit earlier this month when the DeKalb County Board of Education approved a new plan that includes district matching money. 

Officials said the new 403(b) plan includes a match of up to 2 percent of a driver’s annual salary. Drivers must have worked for the district at least five years to be eligible. 

“We’re doing even more to up our recruiting efforts,” said Dan Drake, the district’s interim chief operations officer. 

Drivers received a 2.5 percent raise and district officials approved a 6-hour starting workday during the previous school year. Drake said another new benefit this year is a $150 attendance bonus for drivers who work a certain number of days through the year. 

Bus driver pay and conditions have been a contentious issue as drivers have complained about working conditions, pay and respect. In April, the drivers tallied more than 800 absences over three days during a planned sick-out, which resulted in seven terminations

One driver who was mistakenly fired returned to work several weeks after the sick-out. The remaining drivers were allowed to return to their jobs when school began Aug. 6.

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