Portsmouth, Va. - A Portsmouth school board meeting left bus drivers with no changes that they have requested for months. Last Monday, almost 40 bus drivers called in sick, which caused other bus drivers to double up on their routes, and resulting in late arrival for students.
Board member Costella Williams stated that the administration has made sure another mass absence or “sick-out” won’t happen again. She says substitutes and possibly contracting out the bus drivers will be used as back-ups.
Recently a vote was scheduled to allow board members to vote on an on-time bonus for the drivers who chose to attend work last Monday. In the end, that vote was decided against.
Neal Sasser, a bus driver who decided to come to work states, “I think we all want the same things, in way of pay increase and benefits, but some of us chose the high road.”
On the other hand, driver Sue Moore considers the extra to be the drop in the bucket. She says there are more concerns like safety issues, equipment problems and lack of respect from administrators.
“It’s more than money. The money would be nice because we’ve been living pay check to pay check, but the stress of everything else on top of it is number one with us.”
By Ashia Aubrey