As transportation employees of our district, we value and understand the responsibility to safely transport your sons and daughters to school as well as on many other trips. Many of the drivers have given many years of service to the Kingsland school district.

We are, however, concerned with the action taken by the School Board at its meeting on Nov. 21. In way of background information, we are “at will” employees operating under a two-year working agreement that expired on June 30, 2016. In a draft agreement we were offered a raise of approximately 1.5 percent the first year and 3 percent for the second year. The transportation employees were in agreement with the proposed salary structure. During discussion, it came to our attention that (from our understanding) every other district employee receives a paid holiday benefit. This includes other part-time employees, and this paid holiday benefit appears to have been granted to others for many years. We requested that we, in a spirit of equity, also receive the same paid holiday benefit. Our understanding is that the offered salary increase for other employee agreements already approved was the same 1.5 percent and 3 percent as offered to us.

At the Nov. 21 School Board meeting, the School Board voted to approve a working agreement that included a paid holiday benefit, but with a 0 percent increase the first year and a 1 percent salary increase the second year. We do not feel this is fair or equitable in light of the fact that other Kingsland employees received a 4.5 percent pay increase plus their continued paid holiday benefit. The drivers requested benefits would cost the district approximately $5,000 total per year over what they offered. This would include all transportation employees. The Kingsland school district had general fund total revenue of $6,304,834 for the year ended June 30, 2016. Our additional request for paid holiday benefit and the previously offered 4.5 percent salary increase would be 0.08 percent of the budget. Yes, that is 0.08 percent, not 8 percent.

We understand that the approved working agreement was given to us as a take it or leave it agreement. This lack of equity does not speak to a proper appreciation of the commitment and years of service being given by the district’s drivers.

We cannot accept the working agreement that has been approved by the School Board at this time. We will not continue driving under this agreement beginning Dec. 5. We truly hope that this situation does not come to this end, but the School Board has seemingly left us no alternative. We are only going public to try to avert a transportation issue that could impact those parents whose students need transportation.

Route drivers:

Gary Apenhorst, John

Fenske, Joe Haynes, Mike Johnson, Lyman Richter

Van drivers:

Cathy Haynes, Belinda Klomps, Ron Neis,

Janelle Rowe, Rick

Rowe, Nancy Stender

Substitute drivers:

Dennis Hillesland,

Steve Tammel