During the school year, school bus drivers dutifully transport students to and from school each weekday. But what happens when summer vacation arrives and schools close down? Do school bus drivers continue to receive paychecks even when school is out?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most school bus drivers do not get paid over the summer when school is not in session. Their job and pay is tied to the school calendar.


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School Bus Driver Pay is Tied to the School Calendar

School bus drivers’ pay is directly tied to the school calendar. This means that they are typically only paid for the days when school is in session.

Drivers are only paid for days when school is in session

Unlike year-round employees who receive a consistent salary throughout the year, school bus drivers often work on a contractual basis. They are paid for the specific days when they are required to transport students to and from school.

This means that during school holidays, breaks, and summers, bus drivers do not receive a regular paycheck.

It’s important to note that school bus drivers’ salaries may vary depending on their individual contracts and the policies of their school district. Some drivers may have the option to spread their paychecks evenly throughout the year, while others may choose to receive larger paychecks during the school year and have summers off without pay.

Summers off without pay is typical for school employees

It’s worth mentioning that school bus drivers are not the only school employees who experience summers without pay. Many other school staff members, such as teachers and support staff, are also paid based on the school calendar.

This is a common practice in the education sector, where employees are typically given time off during the summer months.

While not receiving a paycheck during the summer may seem challenging for school bus drivers, it’s important to remember that this time off can also serve as an opportunity for them to recharge and spend time with their families.

Additionally, some bus drivers may choose to take on other temporary jobs or participate in summer programs to supplement their income during the break.

Options for School Bus Drivers During the Summer

For school bus drivers, the summer break can be a challenging time financially. Since they are not required to work during this period, many wonder whether they will still receive a paycheck. However, there are several options available to school bus drivers to help them navigate this period of time without regular income.

Find a summer job until school resumes

One option for school bus drivers during the summer is to find a temporary job that can help bridge the gap until school starts again. Many bus drivers have transferable skills that can be valuable in other industries, such as customer service or logistics.

By actively seeking out summer employment opportunities, bus drivers can ensure they have a steady income during the break.


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File for unemployment benefits

In some cases, school bus drivers may be eligible to file for unemployment benefits during the summer break. The specific eligibility requirements vary depending on the state and individual circumstances.

It is essential for bus drivers to research their state’s unemployment laws and consult with their local unemployment office for guidance on how to proceed.

Use savings from the school year

Another option for school bus drivers is to rely on savings they have accumulated throughout the school year. By budgeting wisely and saving a portion of their income during the school year, bus drivers can create a financial cushion to help them through the summer break.

This requires careful planning and discipline, but it can provide a source of income during the months when regular pay is not received.

It is important for school bus drivers to explore all available options and choose the one that best suits their individual circumstances. By being proactive and resourceful, bus drivers can navigate the financial challenges of the summer break and ensure a smooth transition back to work when school resumes.

Why Aren’t School Bus Drivers Paid in the Summer?

Many school bus drivers wonder why they aren’t paid during the summer months when school is out. There are a couple of reasons for this.

School budgets are set for the school year

School budgets are typically set for the duration of the school year, which means that funds are allocated specifically for paying school bus drivers during those months. When school is not in session, these funds may be allocated to other areas of the school’s budget, such as facility maintenance or educational programs.

This is why school bus drivers may not receive payment during the summer.

Drivers are contracted only for the days when transporting students

Another reason why school bus drivers may not be paid in the summer is that their contracts are often based on the number of days they are required to transport students. Since there are no students to transport during the summer break, bus drivers are not contracted to work during this time.

This allows school districts to save on labor costs and allocate funds to other areas.

It’s important to note that the specific policies regarding school bus driver pay during the summer months can vary between school districts. Some districts may offer summer employment opportunities for bus drivers, such as transporting students for summer school or other programs.

In these cases, drivers may receive payment for their services during the summer. However, this is not always the case.

For more information on school bus driver pay policies in your area, it is best to consult your local school district’s website or contact their transportation department directly.

Alternatives to the Traditional School Calendar

Year-round schooling

One alternative to the traditional school calendar is year-round schooling. This approach breaks up the school year into shorter terms with shorter breaks in between. Instead of having a long summer break, students have several shorter breaks throughout the year.

This can help prevent learning loss over the summer and provide more continuous learning opportunities. Year-round schooling also has potential benefits for school bus drivers, as they may have the opportunity to work during the shorter breaks.

Staggered summer breaks

Another alternative to the traditional school calendar is staggered summer breaks. Instead of having all students on break at the same time, schools may stagger their summer breaks so that different groups of students have their break at different times.

This can help alleviate some of the challenges associated with a large number of students being on break at once, such as an increased demand for childcare. Staggered summer breaks may also provide more opportunities for school bus drivers to continue working during the summer months.

While these alternatives to the traditional school calendar may have their benefits, it’s important to note that they may also come with their own challenges. For example, year-round schooling may require adjustments to curriculum planning and scheduling, and staggered summer breaks may require additional coordination and resources.

Schools considering these alternatives should carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider the specific needs and preferences of their students, staff, and community.

Efforts to Provide Summer Pay for Bus Drivers

Many school bus drivers across the country face uncertainty when summer break arrives. With no students to transport, the question arises: do school bus drivers get paid during the summer? To address this issue, efforts have been made to provide summer pay for bus drivers, recognizing their valuable contributions throughout the school year.

Driver shortages spur calls for summer wages

One of the main reasons why there is a push to provide summer pay for bus drivers is the ongoing issue of driver shortages. Many school districts struggle to recruit and retain qualified drivers, leading to bus driver shortages and disruptions in transportation services.

To incentivize drivers to stay in their positions during the summer months, some districts have started offering summer wages as a way to retain experienced drivers and ensure the smooth operation of school bus services.

According to a recent study conducted by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, 78% of school districts surveyed reported experiencing a shortage of bus drivers. This shortage not only affects the transportation of students during the school year but also poses challenges when it comes to summer programs and activities that require transportation services.

Some districts pay retention bonuses

In addition to summer wages, some school districts have implemented retention bonuses for bus drivers. These bonuses serve as an incentive for drivers to stay with the district throughout the year, including the summer break.

Retention bonuses can be a financial reward given to drivers who fulfill their contractual obligations or stay with the district for a specific period of time.

By offering retention bonuses, districts aim to address the issue of high turnover rates among bus drivers. Retaining experienced drivers not only ensures the smooth operation of school bus services but also contributes to the safety and well-being of students.

It is important for districts to invest in their bus drivers and provide them with incentives that recognize their dedication and hard work.

It’s worth noting that the policies regarding summer pay for bus drivers may vary from district to district. Some districts may offer full summer wages, while others may provide partial compensation or alternative employment opportunities during the summer months.

It’s essential for bus drivers to be aware of the specific policies and agreements in their respective districts.


In most school districts across the United States, school bus drivers do not receive paychecks over the summer while school is out. This time off without pay is an accepted norm for school employees like teachers, but some argue bus drivers should earn wages year-round to address driver shortages.

While there are a few exceptions, summer vacation typically means a simultaneous break from work and pay for school bus drivers.

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