SCCPSS bus drivers request change to payroll system

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – In a few weeks, school bells will ring for students at Savannah-Chatham County Public School.

However, thousands of these students may not have transportation. This is because of a shortage of bus drivers and instructors.

The district says it has 241 drivers for the upcoming school year, but last year they had almost 300. This leaves them far fewer drivers than it takes to transport all the students who normally depend on the school. bus.

OMCC hears from bus drivers who have worked in the school district for years. The drivers we spoke with say they really feel sorry for the parents and children who will not have school transportation.

You may remember that bus drivers and instructors protested a few months ago for more PPE, higher wages and changes to the pay system. They told the OMCC that they were grateful that the district provided them with PPE and higher wages.

However, they say the payroll system has not changed and is to blame for the shortage of drivers and monitors.

Modification of the payroll system. This is an issue that SCCPSS bus drivers say they have reported to the district and school board for years.

Bus driver and shop steward Kendrick Banks says drivers love what they do, but some are considering leaving unless the system changes.

“I saw five drivers calling me crying because they wanted to stay at the school board. They want to keep driving, but they can’t, ”said Banks, who has been driving for six years and is a shop steward.

Bus driver and shop steward Deborah Daniels says the drivers have left over the years and many say they have left because of how the payroll system works.

“If you do that overtime somewhere, maybe the first seven days of the month. You might not see it until the first of the following month, ”Daniels said.

Drivers and monitors were paid weekly through a contracted company before the school district took over. But now that they work for the district, officials say employees are paid twice a month and overtime is paid two weeks later.

Stewards say they have had several conversations with district officials about changing their pay style.

“Within a month when they see they don’t see their money on their paycheck. They leave so they train people and they lose people, it’s a continuous cycle, ”said James Simpkins, who has been driving for 15 years and is a shop steward.

Now they say it has not only impacted them, but thousands of children and their families as well.

“Beautiful kids doing what they have to do to keep getting special education pretty much and they just fell on their heads and that’s a devastating part for me because again we keep doing it because we love kids, ”Daniels said.

Banks also says that if the district could pay drivers and monitors more frequently, it would help retain and recruit drivers and monitors.

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