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No walkout planned for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools bus drivers, district says

On Wednesday, the district met with the bus drivers. The district described it as a good meeting.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Bus drivers with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools are no longer planning to walk out on Friday. 

On Wednesday, the school district met with bus drivers. The district's Chief Communications Officer Brent Campbell described it as a meaningful dialogue where both sides were heard. 

"We want to share and let them know they are highly valued. We understand that students can't learn if they don't get to school. They play a critical role in what we do every single day," said Campbell.

Campbell says a lot of their concerns are similar across all of education post-COVID which is how the world has changed in terms of employment. 

"Everyone's looking for employees, so wages are higher in other jobs that maybe one point in time weren't necessarily competitive with being a bus driver," said Campell." 

He says the district has learned that there are communication challenges within the department and they want the bus drivers to understand the bonuses and incentives that are available to them.

"They have access to a bonus they just got this week, a $1,000 bonus that all employees got in the district. There is another bonus, of $500 coming in December and another $500 bonus coming in May that the board has approved. They do have a perfect attendance stipend, so if they have that perfect attendance for the quarter they get $200 more," said Campbell.

He also says If they pick up extra runs they get $20 per run and overtime.

"Some of those things, not everyone was aware of and knew so they were learning some of those pieces today and that goes back to the communication piece," said Campbell. 

According to the district, The starting wage for drivers was raised earlier this year to $15 an hour. The median pay is over $16 an hour. Bus drivers are paid more than every other hourly employee in the district.

The district also says a grant has been secured and is scheduled to cover the replacement of WS/FCS bus radios. The effort is part of a county-wide replacement of emergency radios across many agencies.

This all started Sunday when a bus driver informed WFMY News 2 that a walkout was planned. 

At the time, we were told there were concerns over pay raises, better radios, pay every two weeks instead of monthly, and incentives for perfect attendance. 

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