Few DeKalb Schools bus drivers absent as sickout enters third day

DeKalb County Schools bus drivers mostly returned to work Monday, the expected third day of a sickout to address drivers issues with pay and retirement benefits that so far has resulted in at least seven terminations.

Monday morning, 63 of the district’s 908 full-time and substitute drivers were no-shows, an absence rate about 6 percent. All bus routes were complete by 9 a.m. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution received a copy of the district’s transportation absences through a district source.

Thursday, the sickout's first day, 383 drivers called out of work. By Friday, that number had decreased to 224. The district serves about 66,500 school bus riders on 899 routes at 17,500 bus stops daily, according to transportation department information. In recent days, City Schools of Decatur also assisted the district with its bus routes.

Superintendent Steve Green said Thursday that any driver not in attendance during the supposed three-day sick-out would have to submit a doctor's note validating the missed time. District officials said notes are not typically required for short illnesses, but the superintendent has the authority to request them.

Terminated drivers said they were targeted for either promoting the sickout or being too vocal during meetings with the superintendent.