Bus service for Walled Lake Consolidated School District (WLCSD) will be provided by contractor Dean Transportation starting with the upcoming school year. In a letter to district parents and staff last week, Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Gutman wrote that the district has been in negotiations with the Walled Lake Transportation Association since last August and has conducted 13 sessions. Gutman said that “good faith bargaining” with the association did not result in an agreement, but every facet of the transportation budget was “thoroughly researched,” and the district’s administration recommended Dean Transportation to provide transportation services beginning with the 2013-14 school year. The district’s board of education voted 7-0 to accept the recommendation and to begin the transition process….
Walled Lake may privatize school bus service, drivers concerned
Source: Megan Semeraz, Oakland Press, April 16, 2013
With a projected $10 million deficit for next year, administrators at Walled Lake Schools are considering privatization of the school bus services. … Ridge said that three years ago, the district looked at privatizing transportation, but ultimately threw out the idea after the department agreed to take a $5 million cut over a three-year period. In the agreement, some of the cuts the 120 transportation employees took included a 10 percent pay cut, loss of six holiday and vacation days, paying 20 percent more in insurance premiums and paying 100 percent of insurance increases over the three-year period. The drivers are not full-time employees and, Ridge says, the district has said they will never be — no matter how many hours they work. Ridge said the average bus driver makes $18,000 a year, but some make around $11,000….
…The district has already privatized the school custodial services and, Ridge said, the school board just approved a 2 percent pay raise for those private custodial workers….
…The company would charge $800,000 per year for new school buses, meaning taxpayer money would be used to purchase buses for a private company….
…Private bus companies, such as Durham School Services, have faced criticism for incidents that could have been potentially dangerous for students. Last September, a contracted Durham employee for Rochester Community Schools was arrested for retail fraud after attempting to steal $543 in clothing from Parisian at The Village of Rochester Hills. The driver, who parked the school bus outside the store, had previously been arrested on a similar charge. On Friday, WXYZ-TV Channel 7 reported that a driver dropped off a group of Northville middle school students at an undesignated stop — the side of Six Mile Road — after trying to get some of the students to sit down. Northville Public Schools privatized its transportation in July 2011….