Local unions at forefront in addressing problems with district school bus systems

A Northside ISD parent documented crowded buses with students sitting on the floor.

Texas AFT and our local unions have been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of support professionals, so it’s good to see positive changes enacted through their hard work for bus drivers in two districts.

Cy-Fair AFT, which refers to its buses as “mobile classrooms where safety and comfort are vital,” took issue with broken air conditioning systems (or no AC at all) on many of the district buses. The union had its members communicate directly with administrators with the message that not having AC in brutal Texas weather was unacceptable. The district responded with a plan to fix the systems as quickly as possible and communicate to drivers about the repair process and timeline.

Meanwhile in Northside ISD in San Antonio, our local union stepped in when it was clear that bus drivers weren’t being heard with their complaints of:

  • Unairconditioned buses
  • Low pay creating a shortage of bus drivers.
  • Lack of communication and respect
  • No administrative support on student discipline issues on buses
  • Not enough hours scheduled for drivers to work 40 hours

Northside ISD Board Member Gerald Lopez talks school buses with Northside AFT President Wanda Longoria.

It just so happened that a parent had also just went to the local TV news after she witnessed her son’s bus crammed with kids sitting on each other’s laps and even on the floor. (The district responded quickly with an additional bus for the route). Northside ISD Board Member Gerald Lopez met with Northside AFT leaders and bus drivers this week to take a comprehensive inventory of issues to address, and he pledged to meet with administrators to tackle the problems.

Notably, while public school districts like Cy-Fair ISD and Northside ISD have to find quick solutions to stretch their scarce transportation resources, IDEA Charter Schools reportedly fly employees on first-class air and are even looking into the purchase of a private jet​, with your tax dollars!