The Cobb County School District has hired 65 new bus drivers since August, when a pay raise sparked a surge in applications, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said.
Amid a national shortage of bus drivers, the state’s second-largest district increased the starting pay for drivers to $25 per hour in August. The highest paid drivers now make $33.32 per hour.
“At the time we did not know if this was going to be a decision that paid dividends,” Ragsdale said at a school board meeting Thursday. “It has definitely had a positive impact in lowering that driver shortage I know everybody is experiencing in public schools.”
The raise made drivers in Cobb some of the highest paid in the metro Atlanta area, Ragsdale said. The district offered multiple bonuses to drivers last year in an effort to recruit and retain more employees.
The district received 271 applications for drivers after raising the pay. Cobb now has about 135 openings for drivers, a spokeswoman said — down from more than 200 openings when the year began.
Those interested in applying for an open position can learn more on the district’s website.