The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

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
Local News
  • File.png Pleasant start to August

    OTTUMWA — Seasonal temperatures and a slight risk of rain herald the arrival of August in southeast Iowa.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Graham's presentation A sweet history lesson OTTUMWA — In one of the most popular monthly presentations the Wapello County Historical Society has ever hosted, it was standing-room only to hear the history of Graham Milk and Ice Cream Company and try some of the popular product. A landmark in Ot

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Ready, set, shop! OTTUMWA — Iowa's government says businesses must participate in the Tax-Free Weekend this Friday and Saturday. Store manager Greg Martin isn't complaining. "It’ll be much busier [than typical weekends]. Back to school is the second busiest season nex

    July 31, 2014

  • LCL scholarship recipients Supporting the health care future of the community OTTUMWA — For several area college students, Thursday afternoon was a chance to put names and faces with the thousands of scholarship dollars they have just received. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation hosted a reception to honor the 25 college s

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0801 OTT DMV new building exterior -M Ottumwa's DMV station ready to move OTTUMWA — If you believe you'll need to visit the driver's license station next month, you may want to write this down: 2849 N. Court St., Suite B. That'll be the new address for the Iowa DMV's office, which is currently located across from the Fairf

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0801 OTT Five Things logo -L T Five things to do in southeast Iowa OTTUMWA — Celebrate summer in a variety of ways and in several communities this weekend. Many towns are holding festivals, shows and events all centered around the summer theme, so head out while it's warm. 1. "Summer Shorts" is the Davis County Play

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

Photo reprints