Wake, Durham schools scramble to fill bus drivers jobs

A bus driver shortage in Wake County could mean longer rides or walks to the bus stop for thousands of students.

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The district still needs 70 full- and part-time drivers before traditional schools start August 28.

WCPSS runs nearly 800 buses, transporting between 70,000 and 80,000 students to and from schools each day.

Potential hires lined up outside Green Hope High School Wednesday afternoon for one of four job fairs this summer. Dozens more have already registered for the events.

"There are several things that make it difficult when we look at the pay of a bus driver in Wake County Public Schools and public school systems across the country. They are typically paid less than other areas," said Raushawna Price, WCPSS Senior Director of Talent Acquisition.

Starting pay for a WCPSS bus driver is $12.55 per hour.

Prospective school bus drivers attend one of four job fairs.

With dozens of positions unfilled, the school district is touting the job's perks.

"They have an opportunity for advancement, they can get into a team leader role, so there's a pipeline," said Price.

Wake County parent Richard Motilall showed up at Wednesday's job fair after getting an email for help from the school district.

"I was just coming to check it out to see what it's all about," he said. "It's new to me so I was just going to give it a shot to see if I like it."

School districts across the viewing area are scrambling to find new hires.

Durham Public Schools still needs 18 drivers. A spokesperson told ABC11 longer bus rides or wait times are possible if there is a shortage when school starts.

"We do have and recruit substitute bus drivers who step in to fill a route if needed, but the more vacancies we have the more subs we need," said Chip Suddereth.

Cumberland County Schools is trying to recruit 65 more drivers and monitors for traditional buses and buses for exceptional children.

WCPSS said traditional drivers already behind the wheel could still decide they will not drive next school year.

If that happens, the district will have to re-evaluate routes.

"Our goal is to make sure, throughout this entire process, that parents are aware of what the routes are going to look like," said Price.

Qualified candidates must pass a criminal background and driver's check before completing a training course.


Upcoming job fairs:

Wake County Schools

Saturday August 5, 2017
9 a.m. - Noon
Southeast Raleigh HS
2600 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh, NC 27610

Thursday August 17, 2017
3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Sanderson HS
5500 Dixon Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609

Durham Public Schools

Tuesday July 25, 2017
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
DPS Staff Development Center
2107 Hillandale Road, Durham, NC 27705
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