RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With most kids heading back to school this month, leaders of local school districts said Monday the delay in passing the state budget is making it harder to fill key jobs amid the uncertainty of what people will get paid. 

Democrats in the General Assembly along with school officials held events Monday highlighting the challenges of getting ready for the upcoming school year and calling on Republican legislative leaders to adopt a state budget. 

“We are still filling key school positions: teachers, bus drivers, other school staff. And, these delays impair our process,” said Chris Heagarty, vice chair of the Wake County Board of Education. “But, right now, we can’t even tell our staff and our hires what they might be making next month with any certainty.” 

The Wake County Public School System said earlier this month there are 17 school bus routes without a permanent driver, affecting 2,000 students. The school system’s administrators are urging parents to decline school bus service this year if possible.  

David Johnson, a parent of four children in Wake County schools, said it’s stressful for parents as they have increasingly received last-minute notices that there won’t be bus service for their kids on a given day. 

“Just getting them to and from school is stressful. We have text messages that show up at 2:30 in the afternoon that your bus is not going to arrive today. You’ve got to figure out how to get your kid home,” he said. 

With two weeks to go until kids on the traditional calendar return to class, school districts across the state are trying to fill thousands of positions, such as teachers, bus drivers and support staff. 

The new fiscal year began July 1 with no new state budget in place. Republican lawmakers have continued closed-door meetings as they try to reach a compromise. 

They have agreed on how much to cut state income taxes as well as what the pay raises should be for state workers and school employees. However, they are not revealing those amounts. 

Republicans hold a veto-proof supermajority and likely will be able to enact a budget even if Gov. Roy Cooper (D) objects. 

“We have, for all practical purposes, a budget going forward. We don’t have the kinds of shutdowns you see at the federal level when there’s a disagreement,” said Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) on Monday. “We are making progress on the budget. The folks that are going to get raises will get those raises. It’s just that it may be delayed a little bit.” 

Lawmakers have previously said any raises that are approved will be retroactive to July 1. 

Republicans are still discussing whether to legalize four more casinos and additional gaming as part of the state budget. Sen. Berger said they’re also trying to reach an agreement on spending on one-time items such as water and sewer projects. The state finished the last fiscal year with a surplus of about $3 billion. 

“We do not know what teachers will be paid. We do not know what bus drivers will be paid. We do not know what other important key members of our staff will be paid. And, in today’s labor market, people aren’t gonna wait around to see what they might be paid,” said Heagarty. 

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said previously that there is “zero” chance of the legislature adopting a budget before the beginning of September.  

Sen. Berger said it’s possible there could be votes the week of Sept. 11, but that depends on how much progress Republicans make in the next two weeks. 

“I’ve been so off on predicting these things that I don’t know that you should take that to the bank,” he said. 

Lawmakers have scheduled sessions for Wednesday, which could include votes on whether to override Gov. Cooper’s vetoes of various bills, including some implementing new restrictions on transgender children and their families.