DUNWOODY, Ga. — DeKalb County Schools Chief of Staff Antoine Brown discussed the recent “sick-out” by district bus drivers over the past few weeks, saying the incident “has gotten our attention.”
Brown made his remarks at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association monthly meeting Sept. 12. He called the incident, which involved more than 50 drivers not showing up to work the previous Friday in District 1, which encompasses Dunwoody and Chamblee schools, “a statement rather than a sustained strike.”
“Because of a single reported positive case [of COVID], 35 bus drivers were out, and then there were 21 more unannounced ‘no-shows,’” Brown said. “They took an unexpected leave.”
At the meeting, several parents said they had to scramble to find alternative transportation for their children when they received messages saying the busses were not running.
Brown said school officials have had “frank conversations” with representatives from the transportation staff, who are demanding increased pay, improved working conditions and better communications regarding possible exposure to COVID-19.
Anna Hill, School Board District 1 representative, who also attended the DHA meeting, said she was disappointed about the escalation of the issue and its effect on students and parents.
“It shouldn’t take an alleged sick-out to get everyone’s attention,” Hill said.
Brown said he couldn’t comment regarding ongoing negotiations between school officials and transportation staff, but said it was “ongoing.”
In other action, homeowners association members heard from three City Council candidates — Terry Nall, Jim Riticher and Tom Lambert – about their priorities. Lambert and Riticher are incumbents in their districts. Nall is running against Catherine Lautenbacher for the District 1 seat, which was formerly held by Pam Tallmadge.
The board retired to executive session to discuss ongoing negotiations between neighbors in the Branches neighborhood and the city regarding a buffer zone between their homes and several commercial properties in the Dunwoody Village area. A request for comment from the Crier to the DHA regarding these negotiations was not answered before press deadline.