Sumter County school bus committee to meet virtually on potential fixes

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Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT
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SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Sumter County School District bus system cost students time in the classroom this year.

The committee tasked with correcting the situation will be meeting virtually on Wednesday to hash out solutions to the bus driver shortage fueling the issue.

Board member Jeff Zell chairs the Transportation Ad Hoc Committee and provided WIS with a list of suggestions the committee will be reviewing.

Here’s the list as provided to WIS:


  • Marketing/Advertising/Recruiting
  • Retirees
  • Internships
    • DoD SkillBridge (Internships)
  • Outsource drivers to a staffing company
  • Hire more staff at Transportation Office
  • Incentives
  • Top-up pay (longevity)
  • Sign-on Bonuses
  • Salary increases
  • Provide Step raises on the salary scale
  • Training / Recertifications cost sharing
  • GPS Platforms
  • Surveillance/Camera
  • Badge in/out systems (attendance facilitation and accountability)
  • Crosstrain existing staff
  • Utilize licensed staff
  • Reschedule Curriculum
  • Code of Conduct - Bus-specific additions
  • Bus Stop optimization and planning
  • Easy Tardy/Attendance standards if caused by late busses


  • Exit Surveys - Internal and External (anonymous when appropriate to encourage participation)
  • Bus Monitors (utilize/train/appoint existing student leaders, parents, etc)
  • Retention
  • Incentives
  • Good driver bonuses
  • Cover costs of recertification
  • Awards programs
  • Salary to associate with experience (TBD with Salary Study)
  • Climate surveys
  • Bus route Audits
  • Centralize/combine Bus hubs
  • Subcontract
  • Maintenance
  • Drivers
  • Fuel

Pay and training could be addressed in the budget. The first draft of the district budget includes increasing the investment in bus driver training by $13,500 and raising salaries for the drivers from $12.38 to $18 per hour.

The agenda for the meeting includes a discussion of the suggestions, a timeline, and recommendations to the full board.

Zell said some items are musts.

“I think it’s a very unrealistic perspective to think that we get over this finish line without a significant increase in pay,” he said.

Zell and the committee began their work in March but he said he is hopeful the work is continually reviewed.

“I don’t think we were fully aware of the really big issues regarding transportation and once we were made aware of them, it would be derelict for me to put a pin in this thing and never come back to it. I would personally like to look at this thing every six months, follow up,” he said.

District parent Kellie Haley first spoke with WIS in March about the bus issues and said the situation got worse in the final months of the year.

She said she is hopeful for a solution when they ride the bus next year.

“In my case, they really don’t have another choice. So yeah they will be riding next year I just hope it’s a much better experience because this year sucked,” she said.

The meeting will be streamed online at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

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