School bus drivers "shortchanged" on paychecks?

Matt Grant

School bus drivers "shortchanged" on paychecks?

CREATED Apr. 12, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr. 13, 2012

FORT MYERS - At least 100 Lee County School bus drivers are getting "shortchanged" on their paychecks, according to the union representing them.

"I've got a school bus driver that did a field trip back in November," said Suzan Rudd, the director of the union representing bus drivers. "And as far as I know he has not been paid."

Rudd says she's received "over 100" complaints of drivers not being paid for extra work.

"They're working and they're not being paid in a timely manner," said Rudd.

The union blames what they describe as a "complicated" payroll system, along with added paperwork and increased scrutiny on overtime.

"I think there's a general mistrust of the employees," said Rudd.

"That they're trying to cheat the system with overtime?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Absolutely," said Rudd. "But they're not cheating. The majority of these people work for every penny they earn."

District officials say if a bus driver hasn't been paid it's because they didn't fill out the proper paperwork.

"The employees in question did not fill out a departmental form indicating work time performed outside of their normally scheduled work day," said spokesperson Joe Donzelli. "Upon verification by staff...the employee[s] will be paid within the next two pay periods."

Rudd admits some drivers might not have filled out the right paperwork. But she says that's not the case for everyone. 

"The district says the bus drivers just aren't' filling out the proper paperwork and that's what's causing this," said Grant.

"That's not true," said Rudd. "That is not true because we have processed documents that say in some circumstances the employees are not required to fill out paperwork."

The district says drivers whose time-sheets are verified will get paid as early as Friday. But those reassurances aren't enough for some drivers who aren't used to being late.

"I'll believe it when I see it," said Rudd. "I've heard those promises before."

School District statement

The District is aware of the allegations being made; however, there is a bit more to the story.  Staff has determined that the employees in question did not fill out a departmental form indicating work time performed outside of their normally scheduled work day. 

In accordance with the SPALC Contract,  work time not accurately reported by the employee shall be paid after the employee has notified the Transportation Department.  Upon said notification and verification by administrative staff, (i.e. reviewing GPS data and daily work logs) the employee will be paid within the next two pay periods. 

This may mean the employee won’t immediately receive amount in their next paycheck, but the District is complying with the SPALC Contract and they will receive the proper amount within the two payroll period required.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com

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