The four Ravenswood City School District bus drivers called in sick Friday morning, Feb. 11, as their representative, the California School Employees Association (CSEA), negotiates with the district over pay. Some students who did not receive the message were left waiting at bus stops, according to an East Palo Alto City Council member.
The district, which made an offer to CSEA during negotiations on Tuesday, Feb. 15, informed families early Friday morning that it would not be providing bus service to its schools in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto for the day. said Will Eger, the district’s chief business officer. Bus service returned to normal on Monday, February 14, Superintendent Gina Sudaria said in an email.
According to the district’s understanding, the drivers’ action was related to labor negotiations, Eger said. The work stoppage was not sanctioned by the CSEA, which represents approximately about 125 employeessuch as bus drivers, food service workers, maintenance staff and other non-teaching positions, administrators noted.
The CSEA chapter president could not be reached for comment.
The district granted teachers a “historic” increase of 10% in November, retroactive to July 1. The district aimed to bring educator salaries to the same level as other nearby school districts.
The starting salary for bus drivers in the district is $25.99 per hour and they can earn up to $31.38 per hour, according to the CSEA salary grid.
District bus drivers earned between $51,230 and $59,343 in 2019, with some earning around half their salary with overtime, according to Transparent Californiawhich provides information on the remuneration of state public employees.
CSEA reported earlier in the week to District Operations Manager Delma Camacho that drivers could stage an illness. This was confirmed Friday morning, according to Eger.
“The district has asked the police department to monitor students who may be waiting at bus stops if some families have not received the message,” Sudaria said. Attendance was slightly lower on Friday across the district, at 82% compared to the average daily attendance of 90%, Eger noted.
East Palo Alto City Councilman Antonio López expressed annoyance that the students were “used as collateral” in labor negotiations. Some students did not receive the message in time and were stranded at bus stops, he said.
“They’ve been through enough,” he said, adding that he understands the high cost of living in Silicon Valley and said there’s “no doubt everyone should be getting a living wage “.
“There has been so much disruption in learning (due to the pandemic) and they are doing their best to learn given the circumstances. There are wiser ways to go about it,” he said. declared. “I urge that it be nipped in the bud for the sake of the children.”