Students were left stranded in a Georgia School district on Thursday morning due to a planned 3-day bus driver strike.
Dekalb County Schools notified parents early that morning when over 380 school bus drivers called out sick.
The School Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Green, said the following in a press conference to the striking bus drivers:
“They put our children at risk. We will not tolerate this type of circumstance,” said Green. Drivers who do not have a doctor’s note will be subject to district policies on such matters. “The policy ranges from a reprimand to termination.”
Some bus drivers that did not want to participate told school district administration about the call-out prior to Thursday. The Superintendent said that the bus drivers were dissatisfied with their pay and retirement benefits. The strike also impacted the scheduling of the district’s administration of the standardized testing window for the Georgia Milestones. The testing has been delayed into the next week of school.
“We are going to continue a pathway of collaboration with the bus drivers. We did move testing back as a result of today’s circumstances and we have built in those contingencies anyway, “Green explained to reporters.
In Georgia, unionization and collective bargaining are against the law.
“The strikes are illegal,” added Green. “There is not collective bargaining, but there are collaborative negotiations about what can we do immediately. Continuing the strikes hurts them so, especially within the DeKalb County School System.”
The strike is expected to last through Friday and that would leave parents in a similar dilemma and more delays in the state testing. Substitute drivers have been called in to continue routes.