SAVANNAH, G.a. (WSAV) — News 3 has learned at least one Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools (SCCPSS) bus driver was fired following the call-out strike earlier this month.
Two weeks ago, dozens of bus drivers and monitors called out to protest the district’s handling of issues, including COVID safety and the pay system. Since then, one driver tells News 3 he has been fired.
“I know that putting my face out there would make a big target for me, so I was kind of expecting something to take place,” Kendrick Banks said. “This was never about malice or any kind of ill feeling. It was only a cry for them to listen to the concerns of their employees.”
The school system has addressed some of the bus drivers’ concerns raised at the protest.
The district is still facing a bus driver shortage. As of Friday, there are currently 242 drivers, according to a spokesperson. Officials say they aim to hire 86 more in order to have the same number as in 2019.
News 3 has asked the district about the number of drivers let go following the strike. Banks claims he isn’t the only driver to be fired.
“It was irresponsible for you to get rid of drivers and monitors, rather than to come together with the meeting of the minds and seeing what we can do to remedy the situation so that we can stop the bleeding of employees leaving and actually get some good recruiting in,” Banks said.
Since the start of school, district leaders say four new drivers have been hired and seven are scheduled to start this month.
Banks has filed an appeal to get his job back and is hopeful change will come.
“My employment has been fired, not my passion,” he said. “I will continue to be an advocate everywhere that I go because the families of Chatham County deserve better than what’s being offered to them right now. This fight is so much more than just about me, but it’s about families and the employees that work.”
Savannah-Chatham County Schools is hosting a transportation job fair on Saturday. It will be at the Whitney Administrative Complex from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.