Howard County, Maryland, Executive Calvin Ball announced the commitment of $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to aid in bus driver retention and hiring.
In a video statement, Ball acknowledged the impact of nearly 100 school bus routes and service interruptions throughout the county on Monday.
The funding represents 6% of the county’s total usable ARP funds for the current fiscal year.
Ball added that he would continue prioritizing the work of various essential workers, including health department staffers, school workers and bus drivers.
“I’m appreciative of the work our board of education and school system have done to resolve these issues this week,” Ball said. “Our bus drivers should be fairly compensated for their important work that is provided to our children.”
The decision to fund bus drivers comes after “sick-outs” and other protests across the state of Maryland from contracted bus drivers at schools. Parents were warned ahead of the week’s protests on Sunday.
This commitment also included acknowledgment of COVID-19 bonus pay distributed to roughly 2,700 employees during August, as well as supporting staff who are not employees of the county.
The county was allocated $63.2 million under the American Rescue Plan, half of which can be used during the current fiscal year.