by: Rachel Stockman Updated:ATLANTA —
Atlanta Public School bus drivers said they are fed up with how they are being treated by the administration.
School is about to begin and the APS Transportation Department will service thousands of students on nearly 400 buses every day.
"It's like every time we are promised something we don't ever get it," said bus monitor Edith Reese.
Several bus drivers told Channel 2 Action news they are overworked and underpaid. Several said they haven't received cost of living pay raises in seven years.
"I've been pushed, I've been spit on," Reese said.
Drivers are also concerned because they were called in to work on July 24, five days earlier than expected. Several said they will not be paid for the extra days worked.
"No appreciation at all, they walk over us, they talk to us like we their children," said another bus driver who didn't want to be identified. "Five years I've been a bus driver for Atlanta public schools. I'm just frustrated with all of the things I've been promised from day one that I came here."
Atlanta Public Schools released a statement responding to the drivers' concerns.
"Our transportation department has a strong team working to ensure the safe delivery of students to and from school," the statement reads. "Bus drivers and monitors are 190-day employees and their salaries are prorated, as are teachers' salaries. To plan for the new school year, APS bus drivers and monitors reported for duty on July 24, five days earlier than originally scheduled, which allowed adequate time for practice and assessments of bus routes. In addition, professional learning days are planned throughout the school year for teachers. Bus drivers and monitors, who would normally work these days, will not have to report for duty on five of the professional learning days, thereby making up for the earlier report date. At a special legislative session in June, the board approved the amended calendar, which continues to reflect full compensation for all 190-day employees. We are acutely aware of the fiscal constraints in which our employees have had to work. The district's FY14 budget reflects fewer furlough days, which is a move in the right direction. This budget also reflects a $307,969 reduction in transportation as a result of a decrease in administrative personnel."