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EBR resumes classes Tuesday, will keep altered dismissal schedule through Labor Day

9 months 4 days 19 hours ago Monday, August 21 2023 Aug 21, 2023 August 21, 2023 3:35 PM August 21, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Students will return to schools in East Baton Rouge on Tuesday after missing two days in a row due because of a pay dispute between the school system and its bus drivers. 

School leaders met with the disgruntled bus drivers Monday after more than half of the district's drivers skipped work on Friday. A crowd of people was seen filing into the gymnasium at Glen Oaks High ahead of the meeting Monday morning. 

After the meeting, School Board President Dadrius Lanus said that the groups reached an agreement and that drivers will return to work on Tuesday. The school system said in a statement that students will keep a staggered dismissal schedule through Sept. 5 and will return to normal after the Labor Day holiday. 

"While we have more information to share about new developments in EBRPSS, we want to prioritize this announcement that all classes and services will resume on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 with the same staggered schedule we implemented last week. We expect to maintain this altered schedule until September 5, 2023 after the Labor Day holiday.

All secondary schools (high schools and middle schools) will dismiss at 1:25 pm, and all elementary schools will dismiss at the regular 3:25 time.

Our buses will operate routes in coordination with these adjusted schedules to and from school campuses."

Nearly 200 drivers called out Friday, prompting a last minute decision by the school system to delay classes. The sickout also forced East Baton Rouge schools to dismiss early Friday and forced administrators to cancel classes Monday as they made time to meet with the drivers to discuss their pay. 

"EBR is not taking care of us. I'm making $20,000 and I've been here for 12 years. Now that's not fair to me," a speaker at the podium said.

Friday's sickout was triggered in part by a school board vote the night before which approved one-time stipend payments to compliment bus drivers' current pay, rather than a permanent pay raise.

In a news conference Sunday, Superintendent Sito Narcisse insisted that students would be back in class Tuesday.

"We have to make sure that adult issues are not before kids," Narcisse said.

Administrators held multiple meetings with the bus drivers on Monday in hopes of reaching a compromise. 

"We came to a plan where we'd have a raise over a three year span, we'll start off with a stipend for the first two years and the third year we'll do a raise. A lot of the drivers were okay with that. As long as he keeps his promises to us we'll get out there and keep rolling busses for the community and for the children especially," a bus driver said.

Parents can pick up lunch at designated schools, and area YMCA locations are offering paid emergency camps where parents can drop off their children. 

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