THE BUS WORKERS IN STRUGGLE WITH MANAGEMENT & ADMINISTRATION
There have been serious problems with busing all year in Monongalia County Schools. On top of that, there is a serious labor and management conflict ongoing between the bus drivers and their supervisors.
If school board meetings would be televised, everyone could see how this has been playing out for months. (Our green school lawsuit to be heard in Kanawha County requests of the Court many things, including mandatory televised school board meetings, as city council meetings are televised.)
Mon Schools management has been making ill-advised decisions in not acting on the more informed and knowledgeable suggestions of the bus drivers on various routing matters, and other issues. In fact last year the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association (WVSSPA) took Mon Schools to court to bring Mon Schools into legal compliance on busing and safety matters, successfully pushing for a Court order agreement this past July.
Why was the current Mon Schools Director of Transportation hired? Did he have any bus driving or busing experience?
Why did he write and sign a statement allowing children to stand on the buses if overloaded by the bus scheduling for which he is responsible?
The memo is a clear violation. This blog publicized the memo and evidently helped force Mon Schools to retract that policy change. So this conflict is serious and ongoing. It’s much worse than Mon Schools failing to “appreciate” the bus drivers, as was reported on WAJR. Mon Schools too often fails to respect the bus drivers’ knowledge and their rights, which creates a safety menace and various inefficiencies, and which batters morale. The safety of the children is threatened and the value of their time and that of their parents is disregarded. And the bus drivers are ill treated.
Woodburn Elementary releases at 3:35. Sometimes the buses are a half hour late or more. The crossing guard can’t leave until 4:15 or later. Scheduling has been a mess.
It seems that the bus drivers need to publicize their numerous serious grievances through a blog, at the very least, perhaps with anonymity because they are always under threat of being fired, unlike Woodburn parents on this blog. Even so, it’s tough to get the word out.
A constant stream of information direct to the public can help clarify some of what is going on: a serious labor and management conflict over various problems, a conflict that shows no signs of going away.
This New Woodburn Community School blog, along with the courageous act of the bus driver in going public with the Bus Director’s memo to her, evidently helped force Mon Schools to restore its bus seating policy, without a lawsuit – every child gets a seat, imagine that!
This website evidently helped force Mon Schools to abandon its outrageous and illegal proposal to change its FOIA policy, without a lawsuit. (The scandalous proposal has quietly disappeared, for now at least, after being odious enough to make news at the USA Today and in newspapers across the country, and to be condemned by West Virginia notable Bray Cary in a commentary. UPDATE: THE OUTRAGEOUS FOIA POLICY HAS BEEN ADOPTED BY MON BOE. IT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN TO COURT AND OVERTURNED. ) For bigger matters, a lawsuit has been necessary, and we expect to prevail in that as well.
Maybe the bus drivers are not much used to public speaking, unlike many of the active members of the Woodburn coalition. On the other hand, it has been said that two of the most eloquent talks ever heard at a school board meeting were delivered by two bus drivers this past Tuesday.
The bus drivers initially could not get on the agenda for this past Tuesday’s school board meeting to speak their concerns. And they were not on the agenda that went out a few days before the meeting, as by law agendas must. Instead they were to be relegated to the 5 minute slot that any member of the public may sign up for. That would be treating them wrongly. And would be in line with how they are otherwise treated with disrespect. But unlike some of the other employees of Mon Schools, the bus drivers do not appear to be particularly timid, and they eventually got on the agenda.
The bus drivers (and other Mon Schools workers) need a bigger voice, at the least. It would be great to see them operating their own website or blog that broadcasts and explains, that comments on and discusses their issues and concerns, sending their many voices and views direct to the public.