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SBCSC bus drivers asking for higher wages

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - SBCSC bus drivers showed up to the school board meeting Monday night to ask for more competitive wages. The superintendent says they're currently negotiating.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Spells said they bus about 13,000 students every day on over 170 routes, so he says that's a lot to manage as they examine the budget.

Bus drivers say, that's a lot of students relying on them to get to school safely, and they should be compensated fairly for doing so.

“We need more money, and that’s just the bottom line. We need more money," said bus driver, Brandy Franklin.

A competitive wage is what South Bend Community School Corporation bus drivers are asking for.

“Bottom line is we deserve it. No more no less. Everybody in this surrounding area gets paid more than what we do, and it’s not fair," said bus driver and ASCME Local 686 union president, Debra Ward.

Ward said their starting salary after the 40-day probationary period is about $17,000.

She says bus drivers at Penn walk in the door making about $20,000. 

This number has not yet been verified by PHM.

“I would like for them to have a higher wage also--we have to do what’s best for our corporation. We have looked at those other salaries when it comes to bus drivers, teachers, paraprofessionals, so we do have those numbers in mind, but our reality is based on our financial situation," said SBCSC Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Spells.

However, Common Council Member Regina Williams-Preston said their situation, is affecting the entire city.

“The problems we’re having getting our children to school on time are so much more than an inconvenience. It’s actually changing the course of children’s lives and impacting our entire community in ways we are only beginning to understand," she said.

“You know what, you give us the money, they can entice people to come and work for them, they can keep what they got, and the job will get done," said Ward.


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