Wake County’s Association of Educators feels school board did ‘bare minimum’ with bus driver approval pay

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – In the last week, many Wake County families were affected when buses didn’t show up to take kids to and from school.

With the Wake County School Board meeting to discuss a short-term solution to get drivers back in buses, the county’s branch of the North Carolina Association of Educators still wasn’t satisfied.

As many as two-thirds of routes, 400 out of 600, didn’t show up during the driver protest, forcing the Wake County School Board to listen to the concerns of not only bus drivers, but other school personnel, too.

Safety assistants, teachers, instructional assistants, and child nutrition employees all came to the Wake County School Board meeting.

They said they’re dealing with exceptionally difficult conditions this year. Bus drivers have more routes than normal, safety assistants said there isn’t consistency in their routes, and teachers and instructional assistants said they’re taking on additional roles within the school.

Hearing their concerns, the school board OK’d a one-time bonus of $1,250 for all full-time staff members, increased the salary supplement for teachers and other certified staff by one percent, and raised minimum pay for support staff to $13 per hour.

The NCAE of Wake County thanked the school board for implementing a raise but said it was not enough.

“We are proud of our school bus drivers and other school personnel who took a brave stand this week amid a pandemic and extreme staffing shortages to demand better pay, better working conditions and better student learning conditions,” Kristin Beller, the president of Wake NCAE, said. “Unfortunately, the Wake County School Board’s action wasn’t ‘bold’ as Board Chair Keith Sutton suggested. Instead, they approved the bare minimum.”

The release further said educators in all roles feel disrespected and that this school year showed it takes everyone in the schools’ communities to help students grow and the district can’t afford to lose its members.

Finally, the board acknowledged this is only a first step and the county needs help from the state, which has not yet passed a budget.

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