Valdosta City School bus drivers rally against working conditions

Valdosta City School bus drivers rally against working conditions
Bus drivers begin arriving at Saunders Park for rally. (Source: WALB)
Bus drivers begin arriving at Saunders Park for rally. (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Some South Georgia school bus drivers say they are fed up with the work conditions they have had to endure for the last three years.

Valdosta City School District bus drivers rallied in Saunders Park Monday afternoon to have their voices heard.

Drivers like Carlton Johnson said they bring home about $9,200 annually with no options for overtime, even if they work extra hours.

Hand in hand, side by side, Valdosta School District bus drivers became one voice to protest what they believe are unfair working conditions.

"There are times that we have to deal with more kids than we are able to because we are just one body versus 70 kids and some of those kids become complicated," explained Johnson.

Many drivers said they have been forced to pick up routes due to a shortage of drivers and are not being compensated for the extra time spent working.

"It takes more than one driver to stay focused, to make sure that the kids get to their destination safe and for us not to wear four hats in one," explained Johnson.

Drivers said that what they want most of all is respect.

Johnson said more money would be nice, but what he would like to see is a new supervisor replace the current one.

"It's not about teasing me with money, you've gotta deal with the problem and the problem comes with management. That's where the problem lies, with management," said Johnson.

Johnson said being a bus driver is more than just dropping one child off from one destination to the next.

"We're not just bus drivers, we're bus monitors, counselors, guardians, we're parents, we are all that in one. And trust you, me, we don't get enough money to pay for all those hats," explained Johnson.

Bus drivers are planning on showing up to work on Tuesday and depending on what takes place with school district officials, will determine the drivers' next move.

WALB reached out to the school district and they plan to respond after further investigation, which could be as soon as Tuesday.

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