DMPS Now Offers Full Benefits to Part-Time School Bus Drivers
Des Moines Public Schools will offer family medical, dental, and vision benefits to part-time school bus drivers to recruit new employees and increase retention. The pilot/test program will also offer disability and life insurance to individual employees.
DMPS and other districts statewide have been dealing with a school bus driver shortage since before COVID-19 arrived in the state. The worldwide pandemic and the resulting Iowa labor shortage coupled with the chronic underfunding of public schools have made hiring even more difficult as districts struggle to keep up with rising wages and training expenses.
“In an environment where bus drivers are in-demand and the employment rate is low, we need to become creative to be competitive,” said Transportation Director LaShone Mosley. “DMPS has a longstanding reputation for offering great benefits and we are going to capitalize on it.”
DMPS will continue to offer a $2,000 hiring bonus to drivers new to the profession and a $5,000 hiring bonus to those with their commercial driver’s license and all necessary endorsements. District employees who refer a successful candidate receive a recruitment bonus equal to the driver’s sign-on bonus. Those efforts have had some impact, but the district is still short more than 20 school bus drivers.
“We need children who ride the bus to arrive at school on time and drivers who aren’t stressed out getting it done,” said Associate Superintendent Matthew Smith. “If we can recruit and retain employees with this offering, we’ll look at these benefits for other part-time positions in the district where the low unemployment rate is impacting our our ability to hire people.”
Benefits will become available to current part-time bus drivers on July 1. New drivers may enroll as they are hired at DMPS.