MILLEDGEVILLE — Bus operators and aides within the Baldwin County public school district’s transportation department urged the school board to consider making changes to department employee wages, implementing incentives and creating a specific student code of conduct for bus misbehavior before the fiscal year 2014 budget is set.
“The bus drivers and aides came together and we’re asking you for a 30 percent pay raise,” said David Wilson, bus operator, on behalf of the 45 drivers and aides present at Monday’s regular work session. “In talking to a lot of the drivers that have been here for a while and some for less time, there are some drivers who, according to the formula, is not up to par; their pay is not where it’s supposed to be. There are a lot of aides that have been here for years and their pay is just not where it’s supposed to be. We’re asking that you address this as a board.”
Nearly 70 school bus operators and aides within the local school district’s transportation department provided the school board with a letter of concern in November which addressed their concerns. A committee made up of drivers and aides was formed, and they went before School Superintendent Geneva Braziel after the December regular meeting to discuss the letter. The school board officially addressed the letter during the January work session.
Saranna Charping, chief financial officer for the school system, explained the pay rate formula of a bus operator depending on the number of years worked to help transportation personnel grasp a better understanding Monday evening. Based on Baldwin County experience, a driver working four years or less earns $10,564 yearly or $14.67 per hour on a four-hour shift. The base state salary is $8,752.
“Anybody who has concerns, we will go through the formula with you so that you have a clear understanding of your personal [pay rate],” Braziel said. “We will schedule a time to make sure drivers understand their pay.”