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Lawmakers hoping to change bus driver pay scale
BATON ROUGE - A mother, who asked we keep her identity hidden, says her daughter's bus driver skipped their stop more than 20 times this year, causing the 17-year-old to be late or miss school.
"When the new semester started, we got a new driver, and the entire semester has just been nothing but chaos," the mom said.
Most recently, her daughter and other students were stranded after school at McKinley High when the bus never came.
"At 4:20, they were still outside of the high school. All these kids and a lot of them decided to walk home," the mom said.
Officials with EBRP School confirm they had a no-call no-show. Appropriate actions, including sending a sub bus, were taken.
By Wednesday, a new driver was added to the route. This mom says things have gotten better with the new driver, but she knows it's not just her daughter who has dealt with similar issues.
"When I spoke to them yesterday, they were having issues with three other routes. I'm sure this is not the only one," she said.
For more than a year, other school districts have reported having trouble hiring reliable drivers. EBRP say they are staffed at 96%, facing no driver shortage.
A state lawmaker has proposed a new standard in the way bus drivers are paid with hopes of fixing the issues. State Representative Malinda White says there has not been a change to rules about pay for bus drivers in more than 35 years. She wants it to now be a minimum dollar amount per mile rather than a handful of change based on an obscure formula.
"Pay scale, I'm sure is much less than what it should be. They put up with a lot. They drive our kids around. They deserve to be paid well for it," the mom said.
Officials with EBRPS tell us they recently approved a pay increase for drivers and other teachers working during the summer.
House Bill 215 is up for discussion by the House Committee of Education. Read more about it here.
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