Bus drivers demand change

Bus drivers demand change

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Bus drivers for the Calcasieu Parish School System say they have had enough.

At Tuesday night's school board meeting, some bus drivers expressed their concern with the lack of substitute bus drivers.

For bus drivers in Calcasieu, it's not easy to take a day off of work for sickness or emergency.

"She told me that no one had showed up to drive the route. So, I took my keys and I went and I got on the bus and I drove my route," said school bus driver, Nancy Richard.

Richard has been driving school buses for 28 years. The day she needed to take off of work the most, she couldn't.

"My brother had passed and I called for a substitute and couldn't find one," Richard said.

So, she drove her route.

"And it was very hard," she said.

In Calcasieu Parish, there are about 300 bus drivers, but only between 70 and 80 substitute bus drivers. That list of substitutes has not been updated in a while.

"In that type of situation, you shouldn't have to try to find someone to take your place. They should have something in place," Richard said.

Kathy Landry is also a bus driver for Calcasieu Parish schools.

"I drive elementary for College Oaks, Barbe Elementary and Henry Heights," Landry said.

Like Richard, she believes the issue has gone on too long. Drivers want the transportation supervisors to help.

"I think it's much easier for them to assign substitutes than to put it on us to find our own," Landry said.

And that's what the school board and transportation department are going to consider.

"By the input from the bus drivers, the concerns they have in various wards, we can come up with some kind of consistent operation procedure that when these things have happened, that they won't happen anymore," said School Superintendent Wayne Savoy.

Richard believes that it's a good idea to do just that.

"For them to look into it and try to find out some type of situation where they can help their drivers," she said.

The issue is scheduled for discussion at the next school transportation meeting. As of right now, that meeting date has not been set.

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