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EBR public schools cancel class on Monday, superintendent says students will be back in school Tuesday

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BATON ROUGE - Public school students in East Baton Rouge Parish will be having a long weekend due to transportation issues. 

On Sunday, EBRPSS said that classes for Monday will be canceled—reversing a decision made on Saturday to stagger dismissal times during the upcoming week. 

East Baton Rouge public schools have been plagued with transportation issues, especially after an Aug. 17 school board decision to give bus drivers a stipend of $9,500. Although the drivers would be making more money, they want a permanent raise instead of a one-time payment. 

The following day, 196 bus drivers called out sick. Classes were delayed for hours. High school and middle school classes were shortened and students were dismissed by 1:25 p.m.

A release sent by EBRPSS did not single out transportation as the cause of the cancelation, but said leadership will meet with "employee groups who have expressed challenges to their roles."

During a press conference on Sunday, Superintendent Sito Narcisse said students will be back in class on Tuesday. 

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

Narcisse said that he will be having multiple meetings on Monday with transportation workers and other school employees to explain expectations. 

District Attorney Hillar Moore spoke at the press conference on Sunday, saying that he supports teachers and bus drivers being paid fairly - but children must be in schools.

Narcisse said school leaders are looking to get the entire parish on a virtual learning system, giving elementary school children laptops or tablets. Narcisse said that children will be offered food according to the "normal protocol," but could not give specifics on what that entailed. 

On the topic of stipends and salaries, Narcisse held firm that the school board made a responsible decision by making the one-time payment instead of promising pay raises that are outside of the school's budget. 

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