Local News

Wayne Co. School Bus Drivers Unhappy

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GOLDSBORO — Already this year, school bus drivers inWake and Nash counties have cried foul over pay changes. Now, anotherdispute is brewing in Wayne County, but money isn't the issue thistime.

Drivers say the latest tool to make driving more efficient is more aburden than a blessing.

For 12 years, Billy Smith has carried children to and from school. Likemany of his fellow drivers, he's angry that a new computer is telling himhow long he should take to complete his trip.

Like some computers that run big delivery companies, this new programpinpoints how long each route should take. Each driver's hours are thenadjusted to conform with the predicted time. Administrator Buddy Smithsays it'sfairer to the drivers and more efficient for taxpayers.

The least efficient drivers lose hours the county says they shouldn'tbe using anyway. A few will lose something even more important.

Acting School Superintendent Jimmy Williams says the program is stillbeing fine-tuned.

For some drivers, the primary concern is the projected loss ofbenefits. Before, they were making just enough hours to qualify.Now, their hours may fall short.

Most of the 200 drivers haven't objected to the plan, but a few saythey want to know more before they can move ahead.

Some of the Wayne County drivers are planning to meet withadministrators Thursday night to ask questions. The plan should be inplace in every Wayne County school by the end of the week.

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