A months-old lawsuit against the Pickens County Board of Education is lingering from 2012, spilling into 2013.
The complaint was filed by a group of Pickens County bus drivers on August 7th
of last year, but the BOE was not served until August 31st. The complaint deals compensation for the bus drivers.
According to the complaint, the district paid the bus drivers for three hours per day for services, even though in many instances, the drivers actually spent more than three hours completing their routes and related job duties. The document also states since 2007, the amount of time the drivers needed to complete their assignments has increased. In the 2006-07 school year, the district issued a pay schedule for the drivers, reflecting an annual salary, which was a combination of state salary and local supplement.
“ The hourly rate of pay for each classification of school bus driver was one-third of the school bus drivers ‘daily rate,’ meaning each school bus driver was being paid for three (3) hours per day,”
the complaint states. Then, in 2009-10 the bus drivers manual said bus routes should be arranged to require using all required buses for three hours a day. The same section for the 2011-12 manual stated bus routes should be arranged to use all required buses four hours a day.
The document, however, also lists a few other notable items. It states that in April or May 2011, Former Director of Operations Lloyd Shaddix told drivers he was “reclassifying” them from three-hour employees to four-hour employees, because he said the district could only insure school bus drivers if they were four-hour employees, but not if they were three-hour employees. The document also makes a stark accusation against the defendants.
“In some cases,”
“(the) defendant actually paid extra compensation to some school bus drivers who vociferously complained to (the) defendant about being underpaid.”
In an email to FYN today, Schulten Ward and Associates LLP Attorney Dean R. Fuchs said the case is still pending, saying it is still in the discovery phase of litigation. Fuchs also said that he deposed several bus drivers last month, as well as Mr. Shaddix. He added he has plans to depose current Director of Transportation Bruce Godfrey later this month. Fuchs did not say whether or not the case would go to court or be settled outside of court.
Superintendent Ben Desper confirmed that employees had been deposed in preparation for court.
FYN will follow this case as it develops.