Bus protest continues after no action from JPS board - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Bus protest continues after no action from JPS board

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The school bus protest entered it's sixth day when the Jackson Public School Board discussed the work stoppage in executive session.

At the conclusion of the meeting no action was taken and drivers vowed to continue the stalemate.

While trustees met behind closed doors Wednesday more than 70 school bus drivers waited in hopes of talking with the district about why they walked off the job.

Board members made no allowances for public comment before or after the nearly hour and a half closed session.

Disappointed drivers wanted to voice their concerns.

The superintendent told the group they couldn't afford to pay the demanded $100.00 a day increase which would cost the district $6 million dollars.

"I will meet again with bus drivers, but we will need you to return back to work as soon as possible because you're putting us in danger of dropping academic standing during this very stressful time of testing for our students," said JPS Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray.

But drivers said the proposed raise to $8.25 an hour is far less than the $16.75 paid to Clinton drivers who transport under 5,000 students.

"We're going to continue to stand until we meet with them. we have not had a meeting with the board or the superintendent to sit down and actually talk," said Bus Drivers Spokesperson Janice Brown.

Ward Two Jackson City Councilman Melvin Priester respects the drivers bravery and said the city stands ready to help mediate.

"I think we're gong to have to look at the salary scales. I think there's no other way around it. I think we also need to work hard to figure out if there are ways to have the community fill in roles to be bus monitors and things like that," said Priester.

The superintendent announced that they would meet with drivers Thursday but did not give a time or location.

"JPS Security received 12 new cars today, but we have no money? Cars are more important than paying your employees," asked Brown in a parting remark following questions from the media.

Gray told employees that they would be allowed an opportunity to ask questions in Thursday's meeting.

Meanwhile drivers planned to meet Thursday morning at New Caney Creek Missionary Baptist Church to discuss their next move.

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