AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It was a packed house for the Richmond County school board that stretched late into the evening and has dozens of personnel on the move.
In the regular board meeting, board members approved a proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year.
Now that school system approved the new school budget, teachers and staff will see a pay increase next school year.
New teachers starting pay will be at more than 41,000 dollars. The budget also changes the start and end times for several schools.
Not all of Richmond County’s staff is on board with the new budget. One bus driver for the school system told the board that a two percent raise for non-educators is not enough.
“When we see them giving teachers 3,000 dollars; now 3,000 dollars for us would be awesome,” said Yolanda T. Brown. “It would not put us in the same bracket as them, we understand that, but it would help us a lot.”
Brown told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson, the lack of pay and old buses are some of the reasons why the transportation department had a drop in drivers.
“We are the frontline of our students,” explained Brown. “We are the one who has to get those students to the schools. If we don’t get them there, a lot of the parents are not going to be able to get our children to the school.”
After Brown’s plea, a response from Board Vice President Venus Cain:
“She has worked her butt off to meet your needs, to meet everyone’s needs in transportation and it needs to stop,” explained Cain. “So you can go back posted it on Facebook, do whatever you want to do. But at this point in my life, the children come first. We got more new buses than you ever had and you’re still complaining. We gave you almost a ten percent raise in the last six years, and you’re still complaining. What do you want that we have not given you.”
“To say that we are not worthy of more money to support our own families, that’s a slap in the face,” Brown told Devin. “They need to cut that out.”
Also on the agenda, more than 30 teachers, principals, assistant principals were called into the BOE. Each educator was recommended then voted on by the board members to become the next administrator in individual schools.