Protesting Bus Drivers Meet With Superintendent Gray - - Jackson, MS

Protesting JPS Bus Drivers decide to end work stoppage

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

On Friday night JPS bus drivers announced that their work stoppage has come to an end.

They issued this press release: 

Because of our concern for the safety of the children being transported to school, our relationships with their parents and the district as a whole we have decided to return back to work on Monday, December 16, 2013.  We appreciate the children, parents, community leaders and elected officials that came out to support us.  Our actions are just the beginning of a process that will produce a better work environment and safety for the children.  Going forward we trust that the superintendent and school board will listen to the unresolved issues from the transportation employees.  We ask all elected officials who have a concern with JPS to further weigh in on fostering a better relationship with our committee, the superintendent, the school board and community.

Earlier in the day they met with Superintendent Cedrick Gray and other district officials. The drivers have been protesting over pay and policy issues in recent days. 

During this meeting, for the first time, drivers had the freedom to ask the superintendent tough questions, but they got, tough answers.

Over 100 bus drivers attended the meeting. They were asking for $100.00 a day raises and more help with disciplinary problems from students on the buses.

Dr. Gray told the drivers he has a plan to level out bus drivers salaries next year, and begin pay increases the year after that.

He also said that this year he can't give raises, because the school board has already authorized this years school budget.

JPS Alternative School teacher Emanuel Jackson rides the buses on a regular basis. 

"I think the Superintendent has went around the subject of the point of a raise and they talked about a lot of other things," said Jackson. "I know safety is a concern. "

"I wont be able to offer anything new on that (pay)" Dr. Gray told the media after the meeting. "We're operating within a budget we have right now that the school board has approved and authorized."

Another issue raised by many drivers dealt with discipline of students. Many had said they were not getting the support they need from principals when it comes to disruptive behavior on the busses.

Dr. Gray says he plans to re-tool the discipline policy, and present it to the drivers at a later date.

The drivers will be on the job again, Monday morning.

Copyright 2013, MSNewsNow.  All rights reserved.

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