Raise for Durham school bus drivers could make them highest paid drivers in the Triangle

Posted September 23, 2021 5:09 a.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2021 5:51 a.m. EDT

— On Thursday, bus drivers in Durham could get a pay increase that makes them the highest paid drivers in the Triangle.

The raise comes as school leaders work to address an ongoing bus driver shortage, something that is impacting other local districts, including Wake County.

The driver shortage continues to be a struggle. As of Tuesday, Durham Public Schools had 133 vacancies for bus drivers, officials said. Some drivers have to make multiple trips just to pick up all the students.

DPS leaders told WRAL News they need at least 54 more drivers to operate efficiently.

The starting salary for Durham school bus drivers is between $16.25 and $17, but veteran bus drivers with 30 years of experience could make between $20.50 and $24.

During the meeting, school board members will also discuss how to implement a vaccine mandate plan for employees.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is pushing for a $15 minimum hourly wage for all bus drivers in the state.

In Wake County, there were still more than 100 school bus driver positions open as of Sept. 9, even after the district offered $1,200 in recruitment bonuses to lure applicants.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are also struggling. Earlier this month, the district told WRAL News that 30 positions out of the 72 available remain unfilled.

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