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HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — We’ve been told that nearly half of Hoover’s students who can use school buses for transportation to and from school will not have that option in August of 2014.
Today, we heard that it could impact the jobs of 140-150 transportation employees according to Hoover City Schools spokesperson Jason Gaston.
About that many transportation employees met with the district’s Assistant Superintendent and the Director of Transportation at Hoover High School Wednesday afternoon.
Some of the drivers were so outraged that they walked out of the meeting early. One bus driver who is entering her 12th year got a little emotional and had a message for students who don’t have any other options, but bus transportation.
“Stability and education is the only way that they are going to make it in life and I’ve always been an advocate for children and I just want to tell them to hold on and to be strong and to go to school,” said Lisa Chasteen, a Hoover bus driver.
She also criticized the decision to cut transportation and says there are other ways to save money, like rezoning to prevent unnecessary fuel expenses.
“You know they pass schools to go to their schools that they’ve been zoned for. Personally it’s 20 miles a day extra to take those kids to schooL,” said Chasteen.
Gaston says the district is willing to work with the employees to help them find other jobs, adding that some already have job offers and others are of retirement age.
Twenty-four-year veteran bus driver Maggie Fikes says her job is safe because she drives a special education bus and that service will not be impacted. Her thoughts are with her fellow drivers who may not be so lucky.
“The Hoover schools need transportation because of the way they built the schools… the way the roads are made…there’s not sidewalks for people to walk,” said Fikes.
Fikes adds that there are serious traffic problems on the horizon when thousands of additional vehicles hit the roads every morning and afternoon.
“And you’re talking about late times? Whew! I hope they figure out a way to reroute the traffic,” said Fikes. “You know how many buses we have and they are fully loaded, majority of them.”