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Bus drivers stage sick-out affecting about 240 students, Cumberland County Schools says

Protest aims for boost in pay; WRAL report says it may last through Friday


Eighteen Cumberland County Schools bus drivers staged a “sick-out” Wednesday morning, refusing to work in protest of their wages, according to a statement issued by the school district.

The bus drivers have said they want more than the current minimum pay of $15 an hour. The school system’s Transportation Department said through a spokesman Tuesday that based on October data, the median hourly pay for bus drivers is $15.79.

According to school officials, the worker stoppage affected about 240 students at 28 schools. The district said in the statement that families were notified as school leaders learned of the sick-out.

News of Tuesday’s sick-out was first reported by WRAL, which also reported that the sick-out may extend through Friday.

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Families were told to arrange drop-off and pickup of students before and after school if possible. Those unable to do so may contact the Exceptional Children’s transportation office at 910-678-2584 to ask about other transportation options.

“District officials are working diligently to resolve the underlying issue contributing to bus driver absences,” the school system’s statement said.

The sick-out echoes another such incident in 2021. In response, the Cumberland County Board of Education approved a $15 an hour minimum pay for school employees, according to a November 2021 news release.

Ben Sessoms covers Fayetteville and education for CityView. He can be reached at bsessoms@cityviewnc.com.

Schools, Cumberland County, bus drivers