Horry County School Board approves budget, includes bus driver raise

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Board of Education has unanimously approved a $683 million budget—nearly $1 million of which will go towards putting more money in the hands of school bus drivers.

The budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $813,000 to give bus drivers a raise of $1 per hour.

The pay bump comes as the district looks for a solution to the shortage of bus drivers. Horry County Schools has a total of roughly 374 bus driver positions. As of last month, 12 of those were vacant with dozens more drivers anticipated to leave during summer.

School transportation officials say one of the hurdles in attracting drivers has been the pay rate. Horry County School bus drivers currently make anywhere from 12 dollars an hour to a maximum of $16.70.

Horry County School Board member Holly Heniford says that pay just wasn't enough for the responsibility drivers hold.

"On occasions, and bless them, students can be difficult to manage. You know, kids can have problems, emotional problems, and a lot of kids don't understand how to manage conflict. The school bus driver has to step in and facilitate the conflict between children," said Heniford.

The bus driver salary change will go into effect in August.