RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County Public Schools bus drivers who walked off the job last week due to an ongoing pay debate were back at work Monday morning.
The school district was left scrambling Friday afternoon after drivers in four districts called out sick after they did not receive a 3-percent pay increase that was promised.
Bus drivers said they didn’t want to leave parents or students in a bind, but needed to make a point.
“Hopefully parents will understand what we are going through; that we are struggling,” said Spencer Jenkins, bus driver.
Jenkins says he’s been behind the wheel of a bus for two decades. On Friday, he had had enough. He drove his morning route, but when he looked at his paycheck, he called out sick for the afternoon route.
“When we got paid today, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Jenkins said.
Wake County Schools scrambled to find drivers. Most students got home around 30 minutes late on Friday.
“As soon as we were aware, we started to notify parents,” said Wake County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten.
Jenkins understands that parents were frustrated, but says drivers had to make a point.
“We never mean to put kids in the middle of this; we never mean to do that. But we do know that we would rather leave them in a safe place at school than to not pick them up in the morning,” Jenkins said.
Wake School officials say drivers should get their raises in their next paychecks.
Wake Schools posted on Twitter that buses were running as scheduled on Monday.