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'Super excited': CMS transportation director says bus driver pay raise drawing applicants

Transportation Director Adam Johnson said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has seen nearly 100 new bus driver applicants since raising pay to over $17 an hour.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Transportation Director Adam Johnson says the district's recent decision to increase starting pay for bus drivers has helped cut into the shortage.

Johnson spoke about the driver shortage on WCNC Charlotte's Wake Up Charlotte To Go Tuesday. Johnson said there's been a noticeable increase in applications since the district bumped driver starting pay to $17.75 earlier this month. 

"At the last school board meeting, we received 66 new applications in the past week and a half," Johnson said. "So we're super excited about that. We just had a bus class that started yesterday with 23 hopefuls."

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Johnson said the labor shortage during the pandemic has made hiring more difficult. As a result, CMS had to get more competitive with better pay and benefits for new employees. 

"You can't go a few feet down the road, whatever highway you're traveling and not see 'help wanted' signs," Johnson said. "And people are offering higher sign-on bonuses, increasing hourly wages."

Johnson said CMS will accept applications through this Friday, Oct. 29 for the Nov. 1 class of new drivers. 

"There is still time if you're interested," Johnson said. "Put your application in between today and Friday. We will get you in that next class, which does start Monday, Nov. 1."

Click here to Apply for Bus Driver Positions. Interested people can also call the main transportation number at  980-343-6715. 

Johnson said the typical hiring process from application to start date is around 52 days unless someone is already licensed. 

"We do hire here in the district as trainees," Johnson said. "So they're paid for their training time to get them through and get them hired to start driving kids."

#WakeUpCLT To Go: CMS bus driver shortage

#WakeUpCLT To Go: CMS bus driver shortage CMS recently voted to increase driver pay due to a nationwide driver shortage. CMS Transportation Director Adam Johnson joins us to discuss how they're handling it until more workers are hired.

Posted by Sarah French on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Contact Sarah French at Sarah@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

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