To the Editor:
I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job that I love. I am outdoors every day and I meet the public. I never miss work because I enjoy my job immensely.
Unfortunately, I have to leave this job because I no longer can afford to work where I am. I am a school bus driver for the Guilderland Central Schools and I have had this job since May 1986.
I am a single person living in my own house that I bought by myself almost 10 years ago. I am facing losing my house because of the incredible cut in pay I have received.
I have had an eight-hour run for 20 years and have managed to keep my head above water. This year, I am facing incredible hardship because I can no longer pay my bills.
There are a small handful of drivers who are in a similar situation but I feel I am being the hardest hit. There are a few drivers above my on the seniority list who have runs that have not been cut. Then you have a handful of those a little lower on the list who have had to bid on lower hours because that was all that was. Below this small group of drivers are the people who have always had six-hour runs so they haven’t really been affected.
The drivers in the middle are losing as much as seven hours per week. That amounts to approximately $672. a month or $6,720 a year. In my world, that’s a lot of money.
There is no second income in my house. I’m it.
I tried to find a second job but that’s difficult to do. No one will hire you for a few hours in the middle of the day.
Because of the way the routes are set up, you have a gap in the middle of the day that is hard to fill. I probably could get a job at night but that would affect me trying to go to work and drive the bus early in the morning.
I applied for a second job as a hall monitor at the high school a few weeks back. The hours were perfect; it was right next door to the transportation department, and I wouldn’t have to worry about being late to work because I was right there. I could have worked from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and then driven my afternoon route.
The pay was lower because it was a different job description but I didn’t care because I would be working and would be contributing to my retirement.
Sounds perfect, right? No, I couldn’t be hired because there is an unwritten rule that bus drivers cannot make more than eight hours a day. If I had a four-hour route, that would have been perfect. There would be no overtime involved. So here I am, willing to work extra to make up the loss but I can’t.
If the taxpayers think that the transportation department is the one responsible for your high taxes, you are very wrong. You should be looking to the top if you are looking for money being wasted. The drivers and attendants are at the bottom of the pay scale for all the Suburban Council schools.
The cream is at the top, not at the bottom. You should be making cuts at the top of the food chain not at the bottom where I am. You are only saving pennies by cutting the little people when you could literally be saving thousands of dollars by looking at the wages and benefits of the top people in the administration.