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Your Thoughts: Put on your walking shoes and take a walk with all of us

June 09, 2010 - Dear Editor,

(School board members, Lorrie McMahon)

My name is Rose and I am a bus driver.

The job of school bus driver has the highest turnover rate of any job in the country. But here in Brandon, 22 of 28 drivers have been here 10 years or more. Why? Because we love our jobs. We like our community. Our children attend, or did attend, school here.

The bus drivers have been asked to drastically reduce the cost of the transportation department. On average the drivers here make between $20,000 to $25,000 a year. To reduce by $243,000 means cutting $8,100 from each of us, leaving us with an average salary of $11,900 to $16,900. Also, we work a split day. The middle of the day is not enough time to take a second job, which leaves nights.

Does anyone want their children being driven by someone who just finished their night job but has no time to get a good night's sleep because they report in at 6 a.m.?

Access to medical care is an important factor. If you can't afford to get care, you go to work sick. Our children are too precious to be transported by sick, tired drivers.

In contrast, cutting McMahon's salary $8,600 (5 percent) leaves her with a wage of $125,000 to live on. As well as a clause that allows the board to add an addendum to give her raises. And her medical is only reduced by the 5 percent for one year. The administrators have agreed to a 3 percent cut.

We have proposed changes that would cut about 25 percent. We put a lot of thought and effort to get to that. I hope you will give it serious consideration. We deserve to earn a living wage.

I think it is completely reasonable to ask that McMahon and the administrators take the same percentage as the other employees. Now that would be serious savings to the district.

How about it McMahon, will you and the others put on your walking shoes and take a walk with all of us?

Rosemary Ames

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