CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted Tuesday to increase the hourly rate of pay for school bus drivers.
The new starting rate will be $17.75. This initiative will help the district’s efforts to attract and retain qualified drivers, according to CMS officials.
Driver pay rates will increase between $2 and $3 per hour, based on experience. The district will continue to provide $1,000 signing and retention bonuses for new drivers.
“We are glad to have found a way to provide a more competitive pay scale for the employees who have the responsibility of taking children to and from school,” CMS Board Chair Elyse Dashew said. “This new pay structure will make us more competitive with CATS and surrounding school districts, and should alleviate the bus-driver shortage. Getting kids to school on time for a full day of learning is more important than ever.”
The district currently has about 50 vacant bus-driver positions, with another 50 or so out on leave and 30 or so absent on a daily basis, according to CMS.
“We are basically covering 140 vacancies every day,” Executive Director of Transportation Adam Johnson said.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Schultz said that the change in bus-driver salaries would be funded with transportation funds freed up by lower ridership and increased efficiencies in routes.