Wake County bus driver says current conditions unfair for drivers and kids

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County school bus driver said the the shortage of drivers is at a breaking point.

"It starts and ends with drivers," said Zach Campbell, who has driven for the district since 2019.

He picks up a bus every day at 530 a.m. from Willow Spring High School in Fuquay-Varina to run morning routes.

He comes back after 1 p.m. until 530 p.m. for the afternoon shift.

"My routes have doubled since 2019 and I'm still getting paid the same," Campbell said. "On top of that, I have other responsibilities. I have to sanitize the bus in between groups of kids."

He also has to ensure kids are wearing masks on the bus.

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Campbell said one of his morning routes now takes an hour and half and "they're getting to school late after the Pledge of Allegiance."

He made his case in front of the Wake County School Board Tuesday night.

He wants all school employees statewide to get at least $15 an hour. He also wants to have some communication with the people who make the routes.

"It's not fair to the kids," he said. "It's not fair to us. It's just not working. We need a better budget."

Wake County Public School System said it has raised pay, offered signing bonuses and even launched national advertising campaigns to recruit more people.

"I like being part of the community," said Campbell. "I like contributing to the greater good of the state."

Campbell said he believes the district is down about 100 drivers.
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