St. Landry school board address bus driver issue

The St. Landry Parish School System is in hot water after not following proper procedure when it comes to the hiring of substitute school bus drivers and placing bus routes up for bid.

The Saint Landry Parish School Board meeting was filled with bus drivers since the system has been out of compliance with state laws when it comes to staffing substitute bus drivers and placing open bus routes for bid.

“The routes have not been placed up for bid nor have the substitutes been hired. They have substitutes that have been driving daily routes as if they were a regular bus operator for years,” said Kathy Landry, District 6 Board Member for the Louisiana School Bus Operators Association. Landry said the district has over fifty routes that should be up for bidding to bus drivers with seniority according to state law, but the routes have been driven by substitutes for years.

Nancy Carriere, a substitute bus driver since 1992, said it’s time for action. “I don’t receive any benefits. I’m presently looking for a job in the summer to compensate my pay. I just think it’s so sad that every year I have to go through the same thing,” said Carriere.

Following executive session, the school board made a decision to only put one-third of the routes up for bidding which means seventeen substitute bus drivers will be hired annually for the next three years for the board to be in compliance with hiring substitute bus drivers. Superintendent Edward Brown said this decision was made due to funding.

“I would love to see the word “sub” go away because if we’re using them as a sub that means we need them, but financially that’s impossible so this is the best scenario I thought we could make at the time,” said Brown. Landry said the board is making progress but continues to be out of compliance with the bid law. “We had compromised on the hiring of substitute law, but there was no compromise on the bid law,” said Landry.

Landry said for the St. Landry Parish School System to be in compliance with the bid law all bus routes that fit the criteria should be up for bid. Following the decision, Landry said she will be filing a lawsuit against the Saint Landry Parish School Board.

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