School bus drivers confront Lee County School Board about work conditions

A bus driver shortage is putting parents on edge and forcing workers to pick up the slack, so much slack that they’re fed up, and say they deserve better pay.

Since the beginning of the school year, we have reported about students in Lee County schools getting home late from the school bus and even being forced to ride different routes.

School bus drivers in The School District of Lee County went before Lee County School Board to express their frustration.

“There’s a lot of politics going on here,” bus driver Robert Davis said. “I’m not here about any of that. I’m here about one thing — money.”

The starting salary for bus drivers in Lee County is $16.32 an hour. The most senior, seasoned drivers can make up to $22.87, according to the president of their union.

These school drivers believe they deserve more. It begins with the jobs they have performed through the pandemic.

“We are being worked countless hours without downtime because the drivers are quarantined and can’t come to work,” bus driver Elijah Scurry said. “But their routes have already started giving us no time to sanitize our bus.”

“And the parents are screaming on us,” bus driver Carol Hardy said. “We don’t have to put masks on our children. Our drivers are dying.”

Three Lee County school bus drivers have died of COVID-19 during this school year.

Drivers are also taking on multiple routes because the District is still short about 100 bus drivers.

The District’s transportation department has experienced luck getting new hires, but fed-up drivers who are angry about COVID-19 and pay are quitting.

“I want everyone to know, we’re watching,” Davis said. “There’s just a few of us this time. Get ready for the next meeting.”

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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