Wake Ed

Parent pays Wake County school bus driver’s senior photos

A Wake County school bus driver’s sad story about having to make hard financial choices for her oldest daughter has a happy ending.

Deborah Phillips, a school bus driver from Raleigh who has worked for the Wake County school system for 18 years, spoke of the need for pay raises at the school board’s April 21 budget public hearing. As an example, Phillips told about how she had to choose between high school senior portraits or a cap and gown for her oldest daughter.

“That was a hard decision to tell her that she couldn’t have something she wanted that she has earned,” Phillips said. “But that was a choice I had to make and shouldn’t have to.”

School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said that another parent who had spoken at the hearing contacted her the next day to ask about giving her contact info to Phillips. Kushner said the information was passed along to the bus driver through Bob Snidemiller, Wake’s senior director of transportation.

The result, Kushner said at Tuesday’s board meeting, is that the parent is paying for the senior portraits for Phillips’ daughter. Senior portraits can cost hundreds of dollars depending on the package chosen.

“It just illustrates how this community wants to support us, wants to support our schools,” Kushner said. “They want to support our wonderful staff members – our teachers, our bus drivers, our custodians, our TAs – all the folks who work in our school buildings and work with our school children.”

Kushner said she had gotten permission to share the information publicly.