MILLEDGEVILLE — David Wilson is among nearly 70 school bus operators asking the Baldwin County Board of Education for better wages and compensation, pay incentives for training hours, a detailed discipline policy regarding student behavior, along with other concerns and wants.
“Bus drivers and aides from the transportation department wrote a letter of concern to the superintendent and school board addressing some of the issues we are having,” said Wilson. “We are asking for a 30 percent raise. We feel like we have been neglected for longer than the economy has been bad. We have drivers that have been here for 20 or 30 years, and they don’t make more money than a driver that comes in on day one. There’s a driver that has been here for 26 years, and she has the same check as mine; I’ve been driving for six years. We want a better step program.”
The school board received the letter in November and addressed it at the January work session.
“After they did not mention it at the December meeting, I formed a committee of bus drivers and aides, and we went before [School Superintendent Geneva Braziel] to discuss the letter and make sure she understood what we are asking and why. It then came up in the January work session,” Wilson said.
With understanding of the down economy and school system cuts, the letter states that “every area that is part of the Baldwin County school system has achieved the goal of fair wages to educate the children of our county, except transportation. This includes the employees of the board of education, principles, teachers and so on. However, over the past several years we, your transportation staff, have been possibly overlooked or simply neglected when the budget committee has decided on the new budget. Additionally, we have noticed a shortcoming in pay: starting pay verses veteran driver’s pay.”