CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Starting in November, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus drivers will see a boost in their pay after the board of education voted to raise the starting salary for bus drivers to $17.75 an hour.
The current starting pay for CMS bus drivers is $15.75 and the $2 increase kicks in Nov. 1. There will also be tiered increases ranging from $2 to $3 per hour based on driver experience.
CMS is one of several districts in the Carolinas to increase pay and incentives for drivers in an attempt to recruit new workers amid the nationwide driver shortage.
Would CMS pay the highest starting salary for bus drivers in the Carolinas?
No, CMS will not pay the highest starting salary for bus drivers in the Carolinas. However, they are on the higher end.
WHAT WE FOUND:
The CMS board voted unanimously to approve the wage increase after facing a bus driver shortage to start the new year. According to CMS, the district currently has 56 driver vacancies.
With the new increases, Adam Johnson, director of transportation for CMS, said this puts the district at the top for bus driver pay.
"This proposed compensation rate would make the district a leading competitor, we would be the highest-paid school bus drivers in the state of North Carolina and south Carolina," Johnson said.
In an email, CMS walked back that claim a little bit. They said that $17.75 would put their drivers "at the top end" for entry-level school bus drivers.
WCNC Charlotte reached out to other local school districts to see how they pay bus drivers.
Union Public Schools just recently raised its starting pay for bus drivers, now starting them at $16.75 an hour. They said drivers can earn up to $18 an hour with incentives they offer.
The South Carolina Department of Education said most districts in the state start drivers in the range at $15 an hour. In Lancaster County, some drivers can earn over $20 an hour.
Charleston County School District's starting pay for drivers is $19 an hour.
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