Special Ed bus drivers get new proposal

MINOOKA – Following a closed session Thursday, the Minooka High School Board of Education unanimously approved a new proposal for bus drivers with routes that have children with special needs.

Drivers were unhappy with a previous proposal that put all bus drivers at the same rate of $42 per route.

Many routes with special education students are out of district and entail driving farther than in-district routes.

When the previous proposal was established, which was considered temporary by the board, route drivers received a 13 percent increase in wages while special education drivers took a 15 percent decrease in pay, drivers previously complained.

After two-plus months of drivers speaking at board meetings and working with the transportation committee and Transportation Director Al Price, the newest proposal was presented.

According to District 111 Director of Business and Finance John Bryk, special education route drivers will now receive $52.50 per route.

Any routes that exceed two hours will be compensated “via timecard at the trip hourly rate of $17.67,” Bryk said in an email. No other changes were made to any other routes, he said.

Drivers affected by the change will receive back pay retroactive to Aug. 12, the first day of school, Bryk said.

Driver Dick Parrish said he was pleased with the outcome.

“That’s equitable,” Parrish said. “And they are going to pay us the back pay.”

Parrish had spoken to a handful of the other drivers by mid-morning Friday and said they also were happy with the result.

Parrish said he appreciated the time the transportation committee, board of education, Price and Superintendent Jim Colyott put into making the proposal fair.

In other board news:

Licensed students attending Minooka High School’s South Campus will be able to apply for a parking permit now that the board has approved a proposal for parking at the campus.

Parking permits will be issued on a lottery system following application by licensed drivers. An additional lottery will be held second semester for students who get their licenses after the first offering.

Parking spots will be charged on a prorated system due to the timing of licenses for freshmen and sophomores – $90 a year for those issued during the first semester and $60 for those issued in the second semester.