Roosevelt school district bus drivers protest, students stranded

Posted at 6:58 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 21:58:29-04

A protest by bus drivers left students in one school district stranded on Friday.

Those who work routes for the Roosevelt Elementary School District say they have not received a raise in several years and their pay is among the lowest in the state. In response, many called out sick, forcing the district to scramble to cover Friday morning.

Roosevelt Superintendent Dr. Jeanne Koba said in a statement the district tried to cover all of the absences related to the sick-out, but was unable to do so. She apologized for the inconvenience to families and said the district was actively recruiting to fill open positions. You can read her full statement at the end of this story.

Drivers said some routes were about 30 minutes behind and mechanics were asked to drive to try and get all of the students to school. The district couldn't, forcing some to miss school. 

Drivers refused multiple attempts for on-camera interviews regarding Friday's protest, but said their objective was to get the district's attention and it was likely a one-time event.

Full statement from the district:

Our transportation department, like many others in the valley, has been experiencing a shortage of staff. This includes positions such as drivers, mechanics, and bus assistants.  We have been actively recruiting for these positions and believe we offer a competitive salary and benefits package.  Unfortunately, we had a large number of drivers call in sick; we exhausted our resources, however, we were not able to cover all of the absences.  This caused disruptions in some of our bus routes. In Roosevelt School District, we value our children's safety and will not compromise it.  We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our families.  We will continue our efforts to recruit and retain qualified staff.

Dr. Jeanne Koba
Roosevelt Elementary School District