CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County schools continue to battle a major bus driver shortage as the school year gets into full swing. In response to this, school leaders held a meeting Monday morning to discuss the issue.

Superintendent Merv Daugherty said over the weekend they worked with county partners to come up with a solution.

“We know this is a national issue but we cannot sit back and say, you know; everyone’s having the same problem,” Daugherty said.

Starting bus driver pay will increase to $20.21 an hour, a $3 dollar increase. A bonus of $3,000 that will be paid in increments will now also be available, which is an increase from their original signing bonus of $1,000. Monthly attendance incentives will continue. This is made possible through state funding which is between $3.3 and $3.6 million.

“Tell everybody — apply, apply, apply. We will interview you, train you at no cost,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty said Chesterfield County proposed the increase in pay, saying “they came to our rescue.”

Current bus drivers will see the new pay increase reflected in their September 30 check.

Thirty-three people are currently training to become bus drivers with CCPS, but Daugherty said it may take several months to fill all open positions because the hiring process for each driver could take up to three weeks.

In a message to parents who may be concerned that it’ll take months to fill the positions, Daugherty said, “I can’t grow people. There’s nothing I can do.”

When asked why this solution to the bus driver shortage was not implemented earlier, Daugherty said, “We’ve been having hiring fairs each month. We’ve been looking at other options we could implement.”

Chesterfield County Public Schools is also working with the Chesterfield Police Department and other agencies to try to alleviate the long pick-up and drop-off lines seen at some schools, according to Daugherty.

CCPS spokesperson Shawn Smith told 8News Monday teams of district employees have been going out to schools with CPD officers to evaluate how pick-ups and drop-offs could be made more efficient.

If you are interested in becoming a Chesterfield bus driver, click here to apply or call Human Resources at 804-748-1984. (Applicants who need access to a computer can apply 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday in the School Board Central Office at 9900 Krause Road.)