The Ottumwa Courier

September 20, 2013

Bus drivers deserve support

Ottumwa Courier

---- — Ottumwa school bus drivers provide safe and reliable transportation every day for children to and from school and for field trips and special functions. They do this job every day while putting up with one or more children who have never been taught by parents the importance of respect for the driver or fellow passengers or for the rules that are in place. Most people would probably agree that it is sometimes a thankless job and yet also agree these drivers provide an invaluable service to the community and appreciate knowing these people care about our children as much as we do.

What most people probably don't know is that despite having the largest number of school children of any district in southern Iowa, these drivers receive the lowest pay and the fewest benefits. The one benefit they do receive is a bonus for not missing a single day, but the bus company has decided that if drivers have the unfortunate circumstance of having a loved one die and have to miss work to attend the funeral, the bonus of not missing work will be cut or eliminated.

I am a retired teacher and have had the privilege of getting to know many of these drivers and truly appreciate the services they provided me and my students. It is rumored there may be a possible suspension of services, and I hope people who are affected by a disruption of services realize any disruption is on the owner of the company and not on the drivers. I encourage anyone with a child that rides a school bus to call the bus company and let them know you support the drivers and expect the company to do the right thing.

Dan Murphy