Local News

Some Wake School Bus Drivers Calling In Sick

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RALEIGH — Even though Wake County school officialsdecided not to go forward with a controversial plan to pay new driversmore than some more experienced ones, dozens of drivers staged a "sick-out" Monday afternoon, stranding some students at schools.

Drivers called insick to Durant Middle, Carthage Middle, Swift Creek Elementary, CreechElementary and Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle schools, and many more --more than 10 percent of all drivers.

Someparents sent e-mail to WRAL OnLine saying schools had notified them theirchildren would not be bused home from school Monday afternoon.

School officials said the "sick-out" was the result ofmisunderstandings and mistaken assumptions by drivers. Wake schoolsSuperintendent Jim Surratt said that new drivers would not be paid morethan experienced bus drivers. He urged all drivers to report for workTuesday morning and not fear reprisals for reporting sick on Monday.

Drivers showed up for work Monday morning before the decision was made to scrap the pay plan that would have paid news drivers $10 an hour, more than some drivers with several years of experience are making.

There had been the threat of a strike if veteran drivers did not receivesome compensation increase to even the playing field with new recruits.After they made the decision not to pay new drivers more, school officialshad hoped to avert the possibility of a strike.

Wake County has about 750 bus drivers, and school officials says theywill try to call all of those drivers to allay concerns and encourage themto report for dutyTuesday.

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