Meeting may answer Channahon school bus drivers questions
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News June 27, 2012 10:12AM
Five-time reigning champion Joey Chestnut celebrates after he wins his sixth straight Coney Island hot dog eating contest on Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at Coney Island, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Chestnut tied his personal best and the record with eating 68 hot dogs. Last year, Chestnut won with 62 hot dogs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:13AM
CHANNAHON — Bus drivers and the Channahon School District’s transportation director may get together for a meeting to discuss what some of the drivers say has been a year of unanswered questions regarding seniority and assignments.
Representatives from the pool of drivers have had discussions with the superintendent and the school board this past spring, but drivers say they are still confused about policy.
Taking the matter to this week’s board meeting, the drivers again voiced their concerns.
The first thing the board confirmed was that there was no “policy” toward any substitutes in the district, whether it be substitute custodians, teachers, or bus drivers. There are guidelines and policy about the initial hiring of new subs, but no written policy regarding how assignments are given or promotions awarded.
And that’s the way they want it, the majority of the board agreed. Those decisions are made by the director of transportation on a case-by-case basis and can be changed when necessary.
One procedure relating to which substitutes get calls for assignments was changed this year.
Previously, assignments were given based on seniority. Now, they are given on a rotation basis. Seniority is also not used in deciding which substitute driver is offered a full-time position.
Just a year ago, board member Derek Breen said, subs were told when they were hired that promotions were based on seniority. That has changed in the past year, he said, and that isn’t fair to the subs.
“That’s not what they were told when they were hired,” Breen said.
“We looked at the issue and decided seniority wasn’t the best way to hire new permanent drivers,” board President Michael Geldean said.
Board members Julie Bankes and Pat Clower agreed that seniority should not be the main consideration.
“I hope the best employee gets the job,” Clower said, “not necessarily the one with the most seniority.”
In the end, it was agreed that Finance/Transportation Director Mike Schroeder would schedule a meeting this summer with any regular and substitute bus drivers who wished to attend, along with board members Joan Ferguson and Julie Bankes, to work on any issues still outstanding.