All Daviess County Public Schools employees will receive at least a 2% raise for the 2023-24 school year. That will be in addition to annual step increases for eligible staff. Certain categories of classified employees are receiving a larger increase based on market adjustments — such as the 12.2% raise in store for school bus drivers.
The raises were approved Tuesday by the Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education. The district-wide 2% bump comes after a 3% pay increase last year, which was the largest raise in 15 years for the district.
“I am always impressed by the way our Board supports our educators and staff,” said Superintendent Matt Robbins. “They are constantly supporting our schools at events and ceremonies, but with approval of these salary increases, it couldn’t be timed better with Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week. Our staff truly deserve it, and everyone works so hard to put Kids First each and every day.”
In addition to annual discussion about raises for all employees, every four years — based on a rotating schedule — different categories of classified employees’ salaries are evaluated based on cost of living, the state of the economy and other related factors. This year those categories included bus drivers, mechanics, maintenance staff, computer operations staff, and school food service managers.
School bus drivers remain a highly critical staffing need of the district. With the 12.2% salary increase as a result of the market adjustments, the pay for drivers will begin at $17.85/hour and top out at $21.39/hour.
In addition to better pay, Robbins emphasized other benefits DCPS can offer bus drivers. Most notably, he said that an employee only has to work 20 hours per week to receive full benefits that include health insurance and retirement.
“We’re hoping that helps us out in the community as well as internally,” Robbins said. “We’re also going to try to do some recruitment among our non-bus driver employees that might be interested in driving the school bus.”
Robbins also noted that it was only fitting to give bus drivers such a significant raise, saying that by reworking the routes at the beginning of the year the district saved about $1.9 million dollars.
“We couldn’t have afforded to do (these raises) but for the cost savings there, and I think it was appropriate that we attributed that back to the people who are working there, which is the bus drivers, with the 12.2% increase,” he said.
DCPS Board members agreed the raises are well-deserved and are hopeful it shows their commitment to keeping valuable personnel at DCPS.
“Education is a vital component of our society, and our people chose to become teachers because of a passion and a love for what they do each day,” said Board Chairman Todd Anderson. “It is our job as the board to help take care of them as much as possible, while also maintaining fiscal responsibility.”