Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 138 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Susan D. Phillips

Committee Members

Kathryn S. Schiller


Bus Driver, Extrinsic satisfaction, Job Satisfaction, Meaningful Work, Public Service Motivation, Turnover Intention, Bus drivers, Public schools, Employee retention

Subject Categories

Educational Leadership


This study was designed to understand why K-12 public school bus drivers stay in their jobs. Currently, there is a perceived shortage of public school bus drivers nationally and locally. Many students ride the bus to and from school every day and without bus drivers, student access to education maybe at risk. This study was undertaken to learn if there is anything that public school administrators can do in the work environment to reduce turnover intentions of bus drivers. In 2021, surveys were provided to 301 bus drivers in 32 school districts in upstate New York to assess their turnover intentions. The theories of Job Satisfaction, Meaningful Work and Public Service Motivation, grounded in the overarching theory of Person-Environment Fit, were used to better understand what aspects of the bus driver role might reduce driver turnover intention. The three main research questions were: 1) Is there a relationship between K-12 public school bus drivers’ perceptions of their work as satisfying and their turnover intention? 2) Is there a relationship between K-12 public school bus drivers’ perceptions of meaningful work and their turnover intention? and 3) Is there a relationship between K-12 public school bus drivers’ perceptions of public service and their turnover intention? Measures reflecting each of the theories were administered, and a number of open-ended questions were asked of the bus drivers to gain further context and voice from the driver’s perspective. Findings indicated lower turnover intention when drivers reported higher extrinsic satisfaction, when they found their work to hold personal meaning, significance or purpose, and when they saw their work as a source of broader meaning for their lives. It was also found that drivers viewed themselves as making a difference in the lives of the students they transport and considered themselves a significant part of a student’s education. They also indicated that pay and benefits were why they would stay, what they would change about their job, and why they would leave. These findings are discussed in terms of implications for future research and for guidance on what can be done in the educational setting to create work environments that may reduce bus driver turnover intentions.