Austin ISD bus drivers oppose proposed holiday pay cut

Austin ISD bus drivers are advocating for the district to keep a planned wage increase, without getting rid of holiday pay for drivers. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin ISD bus drivers are advocating for the district to keep a planned wage increase, without getting rid of holiday pay for drivers. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Austin ISD bus drivers are advocating for the district to keep a planned wage increase, without getting rid of holiday pay for drivers. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Several Austin ISD bus drivers called into the district’s May 10 board meeting to recommend that trustees keep a planned pay raise for bus drivers, without taking away drivers’ holiday pay.

AISD’s budget proposals for the 2022-23 school year include a $1 million investment towards bus driver pay, which would increase drivers’ minimum hourly wage from $17 to $21 per hour.

A new AISD bus driver making $17 per hour would see a net increase of over $2,500 making $21 an hour even without holiday pay, according to the district’s website. Keeping holiday pay along with the wage increase would cost AISD an additional $2.5 million.

“Why are drivers specifically being targeted with the holiday pay?” an anonymous person who identified themselves as AISD bus driver said in a phone call played at the May 10 meeting. “Why not all classified employees, or all of transportation? Those of us that are staying—the drivers who are staying—should we prepare for this administration to delete or omit our health benefits, our Teacher Retirement System (TRS) benefits, or any other benefits we’re getting through the district?”

The driver also said that the net yearly increase expected with the increase to $21 per hour is based on 8-hour workdays, but most drivers typically work 6.5 hours.



Trustee Singh acknowledged the drivers' concerns and requested that the district calculate what the minimum hourly wage would be if bus drivers kept holiday pay, within the limitations of the $1 million investment. Chief of Schools Anthony Mays confirmed that AISD should be able to produce a report on Singh’s inquiry by May 12, though it is unclear if the data will be publicly released.

The board will vote on a final budget in June.

By Glorie Martinez

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Glorie joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. Glorie covers education, business, city/county government, real estate developments and more. Prior to CI, she was an intern at KUT Public Media in Austin.