Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Vote to Raise Bus Driver Pay

On Tuesday, February 14th, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) Board of Education voted unanimously to increase minimum pay for bus drivers to $20 per hour. New drivers will immediately be eligible for increased pay while current drivers will receive it in July. 

This decision is an effort to combat the ongoing bus driver shortage impacting CHCCS and other districts throughout North Carolina. Wake County has been experiencing similar shortages since the 2021-2022 school year. 

The change to bus driver pay was made after a survey was sent to parents regarding possible solutions to the shortage. Other options included changes to the elementary school bell schedule and adjustments to magnet school transportation. 

As of February 5th, CHCCS had thirty-seven drivers on staff and close to forty vacancies. Approximately 794,950 North Carolina students ride the bus to or from school each day, some of whom may have no other transportation.

Prior to the raise, CHCCS bus drivers make a minimum of $16.62 per hour, still higher than the state minimum of $15 per hour. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculation, a livable wage for a single adult with no children in North Carolina is $16.83 per hour. After the pay increase, the cohort of households for whom a CHCSS bus driver salary is considered livable will expand to include single adults with no children and joint-income households with one or no children.

The minimum wage for Wake County drivers, $17.20 per hour, is considered livable only for single adults or joint-income households with no children.

As bus driver shortages continue to pose an obstacle to education in North Carolina, school boards are beginning to realize the importance of the work bus drivers do, and their pay is being adjusted accordingly.

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