DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Parents probably have noticed a lot more DeKalb County school buses on the road Monday. That's because only 63 drivers called out sick on the last day of a three- day sickout to protest driver salaries and other issues.
Friday, 224 drivers called out sick, compared to 400 on Thursday. Administrators are now reviewing if and how those absent drivers will be disciplined.
"There are consequences for the actions that were taken. If they come back with doctor’s notes, there will be a problem. If they don't then we'll have to assess that on a case-by-case basis depending upon how many days they missed and how long they been here. We have a wide range of discretion here" said DeKalb County Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green.
Green fired seven drivers within hours of the first day of protest. He told FOX 5’s Portia Bruner they violated the district's leave policy and unlawfully promoted and encouraged a strike. When asked if he would fire any other bus drivers, he simply said, "I would hope not."
Dr. Green said nothing that they're asking for is completely off the table.
"Some of the things that they're asking us to correct, we're already working on. But pay raises and how they'll impact other departments and staff members are things that have to be evaluated from a broader perspective. We have to do studies about that and I have to make a formal presentation to the board," Green said.
The superintendent, who took over the job in 2015, said he is willing to can look at salaries and the retirement package, but said it's important to keep the figures in context.
"We offer comparable salaries for metro Atlanta and the retirement package is pretty good considering these are a part-time job. We contribute up to 8 percent to an employee's retirement plan and that's with no contribution from the employee and that's pretty good for a part-time job," said Green.
And while the sick-out is over, the superintendent said the conversations with bus drivers have just begun.
"We're looking forward to moving forward continue to have more meetings to look at these issues," said Green.