With about 200 bus drivers out on strike, Jackson Public Schools has brought in substitute bus drivers to drive your children around. News Channel 12 has been hard at work to see just who's driving your kids to school.
JPS Superintendent Dr. Cedric Gray has held at least two press conferences about the JPS bus drivers. The last one was held on December 3rd. On December 4th, the day the bus strike began, administrators held a special-called meeting at district headquarters, where our cameras caught up with the superintendent. "Our plan to supply substitute group bus drivers and reach out to members of our community who are willing and able to help is working." This is the last time Dr. Gray spoke to News Channel 12 about the strike.
Since then, the district's communication specialist Sherwin Johnson has told us the substitute bus drivers filling in are licensed and employed by the school. But we've submitted mulitple follow up questions via phone and email such as: How many substitute drivers are on staff? How are they licensed? What are they being paid? Are these substitute driver's being drug tested? Is the JROTC driving buses? With the money used to pay substitute driver why not use it to increase bus drivers pay?
The response from superintendent's office to those specific questions: "Jackson Public Schools has no additional comments at this time."
Even though district officials aren't talking Jackson Public Schools parents are speaking. "It's a little difficult the traffic is very hard heavy," says Omhar Carter, a JPS parent. "I don't mind supporting the bus drivers. I know they have a hard time with some of the children that they have to deal with as well."
On Friday, News Channel 12 requested documentation on the substitute bus drivers certification, we've had no response so far. On Monday we submitted a Freedom of Informations Act request for those documents. The district will now have to legally tell News Channel 12 why those documents are not being handed over.