Termination Letter

When you are an owner operator bus driver, in Hamilton County Schools, you may safely transport children, always be on time, and keep your bus in tip top shape, but you can still be terminated for lack of money in the school system.

During the summer I am very lucky to be off from work because of my job. This summer, however, was the most stressful I have ever been through in my five years of employment with the school system. In July, I am usually preparing my bus to get it ready for the coming school year, by performing regular maintenance so it is in good running order and also to keep all of the children I transport safe. After the bus was ready and there was only a week before school was to start, my wife and I were watching the evening news. They reported that because of budget shortfalls, forty contract bus routes would be cut to save money.

I was very concerned about loosing my contract because of the extremely large amounts of money that I have spent on my bus, plus the debt I still have and still paying on. I figured that maybe they wouldn’t just terminate someone who has dedicated the past fine years of his life to transporting children to and from school safely. I was sadly mistaken because two days later I received my termination letter by certified mail. When I read the letter I was devastated. The letter explained that my services would no longer be needed. I felt like I couldn’t breathe! I haven’t ever been so scared in my life. ”How could they do this to me”? I asked my wife. “I haven’t missed a day in five years and what about the time and money I’ve put in my bus to keep it going?” “It will be alright, she said, it will all work out in the end.” I looked down in the floor and saw my two beautiful children playing with their toys. I wondered how I was going to provide for them without a job. I didn’t sleep much that night, so the next morning I started calling School Board members and County Commissioners to see if there was any way to get my job back.

After speaking with several School Board members, I figured out that the reason for my termination was to upset parents of the children on my bus. The School Board hoped that they would call their County Commissioners and complain enough to force them too give the board the money that they wanted. So in other words, my job and livelihood was being used to bargain for money from the County Commission. This must have worked because two days before school started; the Commission had an emergency meeting.

During the County Commission meeting, there was great debate on whether they should provide the money to keep the bus routes that were cut. Upon closing of the meeting, in a five to four vote, the County Commission elected to provide the school system with the extra money to keep my route and the other thirty-nine routes that had been eliminated. I was very happy and also better educated on how quick one could loose “it” all, especially when the School Board plays you like a pawn every time they need extra money.