ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Anne Arundel County Board of Education approved the $7.4 million budget plan proposed by Superintendent George Arlotto to increase bus driver pay along with other incentives.

The request is now forwarded to the County Executive Steuart Pittman.

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“County Executive Pittman has been clear that the County stands ready to assist our school system in solving this issue, which has been decades in the making,” Board of Education President Melissa Ellis said. “I take him at his word and believe he will do just that. I am hoping this funding will be approved as soon as possible so that we can get it to our current and future bus drivers and attendants and, in turn, provide our students and families the transportation services they need.”

The proposed plan would provide Anne Arundel County Public Schools drivers and bus attendants with a $5 per hour wage increase. The plan also included an additional $2 million in American Rescue Plan funding to provide a $2,000 signing bonus for new drivers and attendants along with retention bonuses for existing workers. The money would be paid in installments throughout the school year.

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The first installment would be paid immediately with the second and third tp be paid over the course of the school year.

The request would have to be approved by the County Council but Pittman could agree to disburse rescue plan funding for recruitment and rendition bonuses immediately without their approval.

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The package also contemplates reaching an agreement with contractors on compensating bus drivers and attendants for a full eight-hour workday.

CBS Baltimore Staff