MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Blount County Schools has approved an pay increase for school bus contractors due to higher diesel fuel prices.

The Blount County Schools Board of Education approved a 5% increase in mileage and seating rates for contracted bus transportation during the Jan. 5 meeting. The increase will take effect retroactively back to August 1, 2022.

“The $400,000 amount approved for bus contractors includes a 5% increase in mileage and seat rates for contracted bus transportation due to the current inflationary environment. The rate increase will be provided retroactive back to August 1, 2022. Blount County Schools is grateful for our bus contractors and drivers as they daily provide care, love and service to the students of our district.”

Reads a statement from the district.

An email from the Transportation Committee to the Board of Education explains that the increase is needed due to “inflation increases in operating expenses”. The committee discussed the increase during their December 16, 2022, meeting and unanimously agreed to ask the school board for the increase.