CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — The Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education unanimously approved a big bump for CMS bus drivers.

The board voted to give them all a raise, making them the highest-paid drivers in the state. The raise is between two and three dollars an hour depending on experience, with the starting salary now becoming $17.75.

This comes as the district is desperately trying to fill dozens of open jobs. The district reports they have around 50 bus driver openings at the moment. Luckily, CMS staff is filling in any chance they get, trying to help out and cover open routes. Even Adam Johnson, CMS’ Executive Director of Transportation, is picking up driving shifts.

“This morning, I was driving the University Park run and the little tiny kids just standing at the stop and I thought: ‘If I didn’t get up and do this, they would just be standing there.’ So it makes it worthwhile when you see the little ones run to the bus. And then when they got off the bus, they were asking ‘can you be our bus driver from now on?’” Johnson said.

The raises will cost the district $4.9 million.

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