DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Some bus drivers went on their routes, while others called out sick Thursday, and plan on calling out sick for two more days.
Thursday was day 1 of a three-day planned 'sick out' by bus drivers in DeKalb County.
According to officials, 42 percent out of 908 bus drivers called out sick Thursday.
In a news release Thursday afternoon, the district said "If your child is a bus rider, you can expect a 60 to 90 minute delay for the afternoon bus routes. There could also be possible delays to and from afternoon athletic events."
DeKalb County school officials alerted parents on Wednesday that some bus drivers may not be reporting to work over the next three days.
In an email sent to parents, the school district says a walkout is expected this week and the district has a contingency plan in place. The email states DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green has been meeting with drivers and is working to address their concerns.
The drivers voiced their concerns at recent school board meetings and met this week with the superintendent demanding more respect, better benefits, but mostly more money.
It's a disruption that the president of Driver and Monitor Advisory Committee hopes this will get them to the bargaining table with Green.
"We want a 6 percent step increase. We want to get back to the step raises. We want to get back to having the cost of living. We want benefits. We just want to be treated like everyone else," said Shiela Bennett, a DeKalb County school bus driver.
We'll bring you the latest on the 'sick out' on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m.
But the next three days could place a significant burden on families.
"A lot of people leave early for work. A lot of people already depend on others and with the bus drivers. Not showing up for work is really going to impact a lot of families," said Ashley Ford, a parent of a student at a DeKalb County school.
There will be no consequences to students if they arrive late as a result of the walkout.
If a student misses a test or is late, the district says it will work to find time for the child to take the tests.
If any parent has transportation questions, they are advised to call the DeKalb County School District hotline at 678-676-1200.
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