Letter to the Editor – Bus Issues – 6.23.2016

Editor:

At last week’s board meeting, a young woman spoke about the ongoing transportation issue.  I would like to respond to some of the things she said.  She stated that there was a lot of animosity and bitterness.  I am pretty sure anyone would be bitter and have just a little animosity if someone tried to take away their $30,000 investment and their livelihood.  It was insinuated that the bus drivers have no thought for the children of this community.  She is sadly mistaken.  We care just as much as anyone does about the children who attend our school.

Change is hard?  Yes, it is. It’s especially hard when it cuts your pay by $6,000.00.  Yet you are still expected to supply the equipment, insurance, repairs, and risk to do that job. Their plan was based on districts who hire drivers to drive.  That’s it. Just drive one of the school’s buses.

She was right in one of her statements that the school district is the steward of the district’s tax dollars.  Yet they spent over a half million dollars to supposedly save $150,000-$200,000.  The only way they save that kind of money is to use their crazy plan with long routes and short routes and cutting driver’s pay by 20%.  Oh, and by the way, that cut in pay was how they were going to recoup the settlement agreement, in effect, forcing the drivers to pay for their own settlement money.  Does that sound like a fair deal?

Also, the administration paid $6,000.00 for Sunshine Law requests. That money did not go for copying documents, it went to attorneys to get them to say they did not have to obey Sunshine Laws.  And how much did they pay the consultant to re-work the bus routes, which are completely messed up, leaving children off the routes? Then there’s the attorney fees for this whole transportation fiasco.  Tens of thousands at last count.  So, how is the administration being a good steward of tax dollars?

Yes, this process has been difficult and demoralizing – for the bus drivers.  They have been lied to, treated like fools, and given the run-a-round by the administration.  Yes, compromise involves all parties conceding something and therefore all parties should benefit.  How exactly are the bus drivers benefiting? They have lost their routes, which had been bought and sold between private individuals for over 60 years, (and the proof is in the past board meeting minutes), and they were offered a contract to provide the same service they’ve been providing but a huge loss in pay.  Think about this in terms of your own job: would anyone still do their job if their employer came to them and said, “Hey, we need to save money so we’re cutting your pay by 20%, but you will still have just as many duties and responsibilities.”

Would they think that was just the way things had to be? Or would they fight tooth and nail against it?  Pretty sure they’d fight –– as the bus drivers are.

Oh, and as a side note, it was nice to see so many teachers attending a school board meeting. The more the public gets involved in running our school the better our school will be.

Jan Turner