PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Nearly 40 Portsmouth Public Schools bus drivers called in sick on Monday morning to protest for higher pay, 13 News Now reports.

Some buses were delayed on their routes by more than 45 minutes, according to the news outlet. The district covered the routes by doubling up drivers' routes and using substitute drivers, and parents were notified by phone about anticipated delays on Monday afternoon.

Bus drivers in Portsmouth and Norfolk have protested this year for better benefits, 13News Now reports. Earlier this year, bus driver LaToria Smith organized a protest for better pay for school bus drivers and proper bus equipment. She told the news outlet that she thinks many drivers called in sick Monday because they are still frustrated with the job and the administration hasn't done a good job listening to their concerns. Smith added she did not organize the "sick out," and was surprised to hear that so many drivers called in sick.

School officials told 13News Now they have been meeting with bus drivers every month and agreed to give them more money for taking on extra routes.

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