IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) Iberia Parish school bus drivers stood in solidarity and held a protest against the school board Monday morning.
The bus drivers say they need a higher cost of living salary and tell News Ten the school board is refusing to hear their concerns.
Over two dozen bus drivers attended the protest, and they say all they want is to be heard by the school board.
“This is coming from a group of 148 operators to hear us. We cannot say it enough. Hear us See us!” President of the Iberia Parish Bus Operators Association Karen Simon said.
Iberia Parish school bus drivers say they need can’t live off their current pay, which is a little over $1,000 a month.
They say the school board, however, will not listen to their concerns.
They’ve asked to be placed on the school board meeting’s agenda twice to discuss their pay.
Both times, the request was rejected.
“We are not going to entertain an agenda item requesting a cost of living wage because we cannot pick and choose one group over another. Everybody needs and deserves a cost of living wage, and we cannot entertain that agenda item at this time,” Superintendent Carey Laviolette said in a voicemail to the school bus drivers.
“We have been denied twice, and we would just like to be heard. We are told that we are important, but it is disappointing to know we are told one thing and we are treated differently than we are told. So if we are that important, please hear us,” school bus driver Karen Simon added.
The bus drivers say they’re working second jobs to get by and believe they deserve a better cost of living wage.
“We need to have something to feel good about getting up and going to work in the morning and not feeling oppressed because that income is not enough to pay a mortgage, to pay a care note,” Simon told News Ten.
“If you combined every life expense, every basic life expense, there’s no way that can substantiate that, and I would like them to take that amount of money and show me, show us, how this is done.”
The school bus drivers tell News Ten they do not want to go on strike but if the school board does not listen to their concerns, they might have to.
The Iberia Parish Assistant Superintendent said the school board denied the bus drivers’ request to be put on the agenda because they are experiencing declines in revenue and cannot consider increasing cost of living salaries for any employees at this time.