Bus driver strike ends in Franklin Co. after commission approves raise

School bus drivers in Franklin County continue to strike. WSMV's Michael Warrick reports.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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WINCHESTER, Tenn. (WSMV) - After refusing to work without a pay raise, school officials confirmed that school bus drivers in Franklin County would be back on the job Thursday morning.

The county commission called an emergency meeting Wednesday night to vote on whether to pass the school board’s budget, which includes a $10,000 raise for privately contracted bus drivers. The school board submitted the budget Tuesday night in its emergency meeting. The county commission had denied it because it included a multi-million dollar activity center, which has since been removed from the budget.

“Many kids can’t get to school without the bus system, and we want to provide that for Franklin County,” bus driver Amy Beckstead said. “We just want to make this transition and put this in the books so we can get back to the brand new school year.”

WCDT radio reported hundreds of kids were absent from school Tuesday, with other parents waiting in long lines to drop their children off.

On Wednesday, Franklin County Schools say less than ten bus drivers were running their routes.

Many parents said their frustration lies with school and county officials, not the bus drivers.

“They were all in support of [the strike]; they just wish they had a notification. But everyone has been incredibly supportive,” Beckstead said. “‘Hey, pay the teachers, pay the bus drivers.’ And many of them, the bus is the only way that some kids get to schools, so this has to be resolved.”

Franklin County teachers also received a raise after the budget was approved Wednesday night.