“Children are late every day because of no drivers,” she said. “On some buses, there are as many as 80 students on 64-passenger buses. If a bus breaks down, we’re in trouble.”
DeKalb County bus drivers are part-time employees who make 24,000 stops daily while transporting about 66,000 students to 135 schools.
With a starting salary of $15.55 an hour, Superintendent Steve Green said the bus drivers are paid more than paraprofessionals who work in classrooms. They received a 2 percent raise in the current budget and are on course to receive another 2 percent next year.
Green said he was caught off guard by the complaints from the drivers during Monday’s public comment session, held before the school board’s monthly business meeting.
“This was the first I’d heard” of driver complaints, Green said Tuesday morning. “I as a superintendent value our bus drivers, who take good care of our students. To react this way was inappropriate.”
He said 118 drivers have been hired since June, though 69 resignations have taken place in the same time period. About 32 back-up drivers are employed to cover shortfalls while recruitment continues, he said.