The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted at its Oct. 12 meeting to increase hourly rates for bus drivers. The new starting pay for drivers will be $17.75, intensifying the district's efforts to attract and retain qualified drivers.
Driver pay rates will increase between $2 and $3 per hour, based on experience. The district will continue to provide $1,000 signing and retention bonuses for new drivers.
"We are glad to have found a way to provide a more competitive pay scale for the employees who have the responsibility of taking children to and from school," said Elyse Dashew, Board chair. "This new pay structure will make us more competitive with CATS and surrounding school districts, and should alleviate the bus-driver shortage. Getting kids to school on time for a full day of learning is more important than ever."
The district currently has about 50 vacant bus-driver positions, with another 50 or so out on leave and 30 or so absent on a daily basis.
"We are basically covering 140 vacancies every day," said Adam Johnson, executive director of transportation.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Schultz said that the change in bus-driver salaries would be funded with transportation funds freed up by lower ridership and increased efficiencies in routes.
In other business, the Board of Education reviewed three proposed maps for political redistricting. The redistricting is required by state law and based on federal decennial census data. Six Board members represent districts; three others are elected at large.
The maps were assembled by a redistricting work group that included the Board's General Counsel Andre Mayes; Chief Compliance Officer Scott McCully; Executive Director of Government Affairs, Policy, and Board Services Charles Jeter; and Planning Specialist Max Hsiang.
Board of Education members were not involved in the map-drawing but did vote earlier this year to approve five criteria to be used in the redistricting process. Those criteria are:
The work group used ESRI software, a web-based tool that uses Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping technology to create redistricting scenarios.
The public will have the opportunity to see and provide feedback on the maps in a trio of virtual town hall meetings scheduled Oct. 13, 19 and 21. There will be a public hearing on the proposed three maps at the Board of Education meeting Oct. 26. A public hearing and a Board vote on the final map will be held Nov. 9.
To see the presentation shown at the Board meeting, click here.
The Board also voted to continue the mandatory masking policy in schools and on buses. By order of the North Carolina General Assembly, the Board must reconsider the policy once each month.