Bus Drivers of Superior WI Jobs in Jeopardy Sign in support of the drivers.

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An attack on the livelihood of the bus drivers within the School District of Superior began in May 14, 2018 with a blind-sided communication about some significant procedural changes taking place during the 2018 summer school season. Several employees met with administration to get clarification to these changes and at that time it was made clear that this was affecting summer school employment ONLY.

Three weeks later, on the last day of school, the employees received a letter notifying employees of these same changes being effective for the 2018/2019 school year and a mandatory meeting June 14th, 2018.

Employees attended this MANDATORY meeting on June 14, 2018 with administration consisting of the current Superintendent, Janna Stevens, the transportation director, Chad Jensema, district Business Manager, Alayna Burger, and school district attorney Kyle Torvinen. This meeting was to provide details on the changes for the following school year. The employees were also informed in the June 11th board meeting that the employees should use this meeting to ask ANY and ALL questions that the employees had and to not leave this meeting with any un-asked questions.

In this meeting the drivers were presented with a very vague employment contract to sign no later than July 6th, 2018.  This contract states the employees must agree to remain with the school district for the entire school year and cannot terminate employment at their own free will for any reason.  Yet the district can terminate employment via lay-offs if they so choose.  This contract only includes the employees rate of pay and does not specify any other conditions of employment (i.e. hours, benefits, etc).  It was also stated that if this contract is not signed the driver is no longer an employee of the district.  The drivers have since got the date pushed back to July 16, 2018.  

The drivers were also notified that a previous condition of employment that had been in place for 50+ years is changing.  With this change county drivers that previously kept their bus parked at their residence are now required to park their vehicle at a specified location (Fabick).  This will result in a great hardship (financial and personal) to these employees and will come at a financial cost to the district and the tax-payers of this community. 

Since this all began in May, the employees have made appropriate efforts to get their valid concerns heard via meetings with administration, emails to the superintendent and attending Board of Education meetings. The employees have been continuously met with a lack of consideration from the very members of this community that have been elected and assigned the task of protecting the best interest of the tax-payers of this community along with the employees of the district and the district themselves. The elected Board Members made it clear in a public meeting held June 11, 2018 that they will not even consider the employees fact based concerns regarding the financial impact that these changes will have on the district, its employees and ultimately the tax-payers and has deferred the employees back to the administration. This administration is currently led by Superintendent Janna Stevens who is retiring effective June 30, 2018 and therefore should not be making procedural changes that have such a significant impact on the future of OUR school district. According to the Fox 21 news report on June 14, 2018, the new superintendent has not been made aware of this conflict between administration and employees.

The day following this meeting, an email was received from Janna Stevens recapping the meeting and ended with an all-out threat from the superintendent herself.

“Given the anger and hostility of the meeting, the district is now considering going out to bid for our busing needs. It is clear from the drivers that attended the meeting, you do not feel the district has treated you right; perhaps another company would be better for the drivers”.

This attack has been riddled with lies, deceit, cover-ups and threats in an effort to shut down the voices of these employees. While Janna has agreed to push back the contract signing date by 10 days to allow the employees time to speak to the new superintendent and make decisions on their future with the district, she has made it clear with her response that “the district” is not open to hearing what the employees have to say. This statement leads the employees to believe that “the district” was already moving towards “going out to bid” for the busing needs regardless of the supposed hostility of this meeting. Considering Ms. Stevens is no longer representing the district as of June 30, this statement was nothing more than a threat to quiet our voices. This is a decision that should not be made by the current administration and should be thoroughly reviewed with FACTS and a cost analysis by the incoming superintendent.

Please support the bus drivers in being treated with respect and having their voices heard.  Contact the Superior School Board, the administration, attend the next board meetings.  Remind the School Board and the district that they are elected officials that work for the tax-payers and that we won’t allow this to go unchallenged.

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