Minooka bus drivers upset pay scale hasn’t been established
BY KRIS STADALSKY Correspondent September 29, 2013 9:32PM
A Quality Trans bus in a lot in Waukegan. The bus company is involved in an $800,000 kickback scheme. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 1, 2013 6:05AM
Some Minooka High School bus drivers were more than a little disappointed at a recent board of education meeting, with one driver accusing the board of dragging its feet.
The drivers had expected a transportation committee meeting to take place between the Sept. 5 and 19 board meetings so a pay dispute could be resolved. That meeting had not yet taken place.
In a second attempt since July to reduce costs in the transportation department, the committee proposed that all drivers temporarily be put on the same pay scale, at $42 per route.
Bus drivers who transport special-education students spend more time on the road and travel longer distances to get their students to various schools, drivers complained at the Sept. 5 meeting.
Bus driver Dick Parrish, at the Sept. 5 meeting, said the measure resulted in a 15 percent decrease in pay for the out-of-district bus drivers and a 13 percent increase in pay for the in-district drivers.
During that board meeting, board President Mike Brozovich said the proposal never was meant to be a permanent solution. The transportation committee and finance director are gathering information before a final decision is made.
“I was hoping there would be some resolution by now, and that hasn’t happened,” Parrish said at the Sept. 19 meeting.
Drivers also are concerned about getting reimbursed for lost wages while the committee and board make their decision.
“I feel we are being picked on. We took a pay cut, and everybody (else) got a pay increase. That doesn’t seem fair at all,” said driver Donna Sukle, who has been with the district for 15 years.
The transportation committee later said a meeting was scheduled for Oct. 8.
“Please hurry up and decide what’s going to be done with our pay scale,” Sukle said. “We have a good amount of people who lost some of their money,”
In July, the transportation committee had proposed hiring three full-time bus drivers who would absorb midday routes that part-time drivers currently have.
While the plan would have saved the district more than $70,000 a year by some estimates, it would have reduced the number of routes for the part-time drivers, affecting about 16 drivers who rely on that income.
That proposal did not get full board support.