Contract bus drivers not included in EVSC COVID-19 relief funding

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EVANSVILLE, INDIANA (WEHT)– It takes a village to get kids to and from school. The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation also takes advantage of utilizing contract bus drivers to help make this happen.

“We are a contractor- not an employee- but our job description is the same as the other two hundred corporation drivers,” Brian Schmitt, president of the EVSC Contract Bus Drivers, said.

Under contract, these drivers are responsible for picking up and dropping off kids to and from school. Schmitt said they’re continuing to do exactly this during an ongoing pandemic.

“Our risk is quite great during all of this but we showed up and did our job,” Schmitt said.

But what separates drivers like Schmitt from EVSC employed drivers is making the cut for recent COVID-19 relief funding stipends. The EVSC said it is giving eligible employees a thousand dollar stipend. Schmitt said these contracted drivers did not make the cut.

“When they talked about teamwork in making it all happen this year, it just made us all feel like we’re not part of that team,” Schmitt said.

Administrators with the EVSC gave Eyewitness News a statement:

“The recently announced stipend applies to all eligible EVSC employees. This includes our own EVSC school bus drivers. Contract drivers are individuals who own and operate their own bus and are paid under contract agreements. Contract drivers are not employees of the EVSC. We did express our appreciation for their dedicated service by paying them for 56 days during the past year when students were not in attendance, during which time these bus owners had little to no operational expenses.”

From the EVSC

Schmitt said he would be okay without the extra money, but there are contract drivers who could really use it.

“That thousand dollars divided by the 180 days of school that we drive, it’s five dollars and fifty-five cents to say thank you for exposing yourself to a deadly disease during a pandemic everyday. I think they could do that for us,” Schmitt said.

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