Superintendent Steve Green has offered mid-year and annual raises to all staffers several times since he arrived in 2015. Teachers, though, received raises at least twice when other staffers did not.
He said he was unaware of the state of drivers’ retirement program. It’s something he’ll be looking into, he said.
“I have to learn more about (the retirement program) and what it means,” he said. “We’re committed to take steps to put us on the paths to (correct) any disparities we see. I recognize the drivers and their commitment to our children. I recognize their jobs are tough.”
DeKalb has more than 1,000 school bus routes and about 800 drivers. They often work split shifts, and some begin as early as 4 a.m. to pick up students for class, then return buses to the district’s depot as late as 7 p.m.
Bennett said her drivers often contend with unruly students they’ve written up but the disciplinary records never make it to students’ files. A driver was recently reassigned to a new school because the school administration did not like the high number of write-ups the driver submitted on children, she said.
“Trying to get help from administration at some schools is a joke,” driver Carshena Hall said.
Hall, who spoke during Monday’s meeting, said she’s been confronted by five parents since the school year began. Often, it’s over students who misbehave on the bus.
“It makes you not want to talk to parents because you don’t know if they’re going to be receptive or irate,” she said. “I believe someone’s going to get hurt, eventually.”
A driver for 13 years, Hall said she’s looking for work outside her department as she starts thinking more about retirement. A fellow driver who died in the fall had been on the job 47 years. She didn’t have a retirement plan, which kept her working.
“I’ve got to think about my own future,” Hall said. “I love what I do, but the benefits and incentive have been stripped.”