The Ottumwa Courier


September 10, 2013

Union bus drivers want school district support


"We love our job," he said.

But the drivers do want help.

They may not be complaining, said Wapello County Supervisor Steve Siegel, about the money. But you need to know, he told the board, that bus drivers in surrounding communities are better paid and receive better benefits — even in small districts. Siegel works for a union and has conducted negotiations with the district in the past. He said he was recently made aware of the drivers' concerns.

"These bus drivers are not property of Southern Iowa Transit," added Thomas.

If they do "belong" to anyone, he said, it's the community.

The administrators running the district don't have time to worry, he continued, about how to pick up all the students needing transportation using the five bus drivers they would have if the union drivers did not have a contract. So if the school board could encourage Southern Iowa Transit to settle, all such trouble could be avoided.

School board members asked if Thomas could get them a chart showing pay and benefits in surrounding school districts. Thomas immediately agreed to send such a list to the district.

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

The board took other action as well at their meeting. But two of those "actions" included hearing from other speakers during the public communication part of the meeting. They heard from parents and teachers who didn't like the idea that the Ottumwa High School graduation ceremony could be moved to Friday evening. One speaker said graduations are important enough that they draw family from out of town and out of state. For those people to be in Ottumwa Friday, some would have to miss a day of work on Thursday and Friday. The board did vote on the "school calendar" item, and ruled that graduation would continue to be held on Sunday. The first speaker of the night warned that the district could be opening itself up for liability issues revolving around nutrition. He suggested that students learn better when healthy, and a good way to keep kids healthy is with a fruit snack. He explained that all children in all buildings should receive the same nutrition during the day --- breakfast, lunch and a snack, hopefully fruit. He believed that is not currently the case. If it's not, the district could be seen as discriminating against the students in some schools.

Text Only
  • 0710 OTT Bulldogs update color photo -L -M High school students lead Bulldog charge

    OTTUMWA — Two Ottumwa High School students gave their very first press conference Wednesday morning to share their progress on decorating Ottumwa with large bulldog statues. Alyssa Cash and Madyson Feather joined Main Street Ottumwa Executive Directo

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0710 OTT Smart snacks color photo -M -L Schools adopt new food regulations

    OTTUMWA — This fall, students across the country will find big changes in the cafeteria, but Ottumwa kids may find they approve of the changes. The new "Smart Snacks in School" standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) went in

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survey finds math, science grads earn top dollar WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems to matter less whether your alma mater is public or private than what you study — math and science in particular — when it comes to finding a high-paying job after college, according to a report released Tuesday by the Educ

    July 8, 2014

  • Pekin and Tri-County to share superintendent PACKWOOD — Both Pekin and Tri-County Community School Districts have voted to approve Operational Sharing Incentives for superintendent during the 2014-15 school year. During the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature passed and the governor signe

    July 2, 2014

  • Teaching the teachers

    OTTUMWA — The community has formally advised the school district that strong teachers lead to strong students. Now Ottumwa teachers have "coaches" to help them boost educational muscle. Though the idea is now formalized under a Legislative state plan

    May 29, 2014

  • 0525 OTT OHS graduation web-color photo 3 OHS seniors say farewell OTTUMWA - Sunday marked the end of high school for all the graduating seniors from Ottumwa High School. Family and friends of the students packed the Bridge View Center, leaving standing room only for late-comers. You could feel the excitement in the

    May 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Slideshow: OHS graduation

    May 25, 2014

  • 0524 OTT OCS graduation web-color photo 3 Small ceremony for big achievements OTTUMWA - Saturday was a special day for the four seniors graduating from Ottumwa Christian School. This small graduating class is double the size of last year's class and illustrates the small-group learning style of the school. Family and friends o

    May 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Slideshow: Ottumwa Christian graduation

    May 24, 2014

  • IHCC partners with WPU OTTUMWA -- Indian Hills Community College and William Penn University have announced a partnership that should provide a seamless academic progression for nurses who choose to enroll in a RN-BSN program after receiving their registered nursing licens

    May 23, 2014

AP National