Unit 5 gives First Student until Nov. 1 to fix bus problems

Source: Derek Breigh & Kevin Barlow, Pantagraph, September 29, 2016

First Student has until Nov. 1 to sort out McLean County Unit 5’s busing problems or face termination of its contract with the Normal-based school district. That contract says Unit 5 has until Oct. 1 to tell First Student it will end the contract June 30, but school board members sent an ultimatum after press time Wednesday: push the notice until Nov. 1, or the option will be used now. … The board voted 6-1, with Joe Cleary voting “no,” to extend the termination notice deadline. The board then voted unanimously that a notice be issued immediately if First Student does not accept the Nov. 1 date. Cleary moved to issue a termination notice immediately, but the motion died when no one seconded it. First Student asked Wednesday for a Dec. 1 deadline. Officials appeared before the board with a detailed plan to correct issues with late and missing buses that started after the district reorganized its routes this fall to cut costs. … One of the major components to the plan, he said, was reaching an agreement with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which was in the process of negotiating its first contract for bus drivers and monitors with Unit 5 when the district opted to hire First Student. …

Related:

Unit 5 settles with former bus employees
Source: Derek Beigh, pantagraph.com, July 9, 2015

McLean County Unit 5 closed a controversial chapter in its history Wednesday — but for many former employees, the fight continues. The Normal-based school district’s board voted Wednesday to pay $28,000 to former employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. The move ends a series of bitter disputes starting when Unit 5 chose to outsource bus service in 2012 while bus drivers and monitors were negotiating their first union contract with the district….

Unit 5 approves new bus contract
Source: Derek Beigh, pantagraph.com, May 22, 2015

McLean County Unit 5 officials hope to have better communication, more timely service and up-to-the-minute tracking under a new bus contract. Cincinnati-based First Student Inc. will receive $7.4 million to provide bus service to Unit 5 from fall 2015 to spring 2018, with an option for a two-year extension by mutual agreement…..The contract, approved Wednesday night by the Unit 5 board of education, is the first since the Illinois Supreme Court, in a denial of an appeal of earlier court decisions, said Unit 5 did not act in bad faith when deciding to hire First Student rather than keep using district employees, who then were in the midst of negotiating their first union contract as members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees….

Unit 5 bus union denied appellate rehearing
Source: Maria Nagle, pantagraph.com, July 25, 2014

The union representing former bus employees of McLean County Unit 5 will not get a rehearing from an appellate court in its labor dispute with the school district, and it pledged Wednesday to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. In an administrative review requested by the Normal-based school district, the 4th District Appellate Court in June sided with the district in the dispute with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. … Unit 5 hired First Student Inc. to take over busing in May 2012. While some drivers and monitors became First Student employees, others remained on the Unit 5 payroll under First Student supervision while their union waged a legal battle against the outsourcing. Following the appellate court’s decision in June, the Unit 5 school board voted to dismiss 56 drivers and bus monitors still employed by the district during the legal actions. …

Unit 5 dismisses its remaining school bus drivers and monitors
Source: Maria Nagle, Pantagraph.com, June 11, 2014

The McLean County Unit 5 school board voted Wednesday to dismiss 56 drivers and bus monitors still employed by the district after its disputed decision to outsource busing services. The passage as an item on the board’s consent agenda without board discussion drew repeated shouts of “Shame on you” from many of the 50 or more transportation workers in the audience. Unit 5 hired First Student Inc. to take over busing in May 2012. While some drivers and monitors became First Student employees, others remained on the Unit 5 payroll under First Student supervision while their union waged a legal battle against the outsourcing….

Unit 5 votes to dismiss transportation employees
Source: Adam Studzinski, WJBC, June 11, 2014

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees members let out cries of “shame on you” during Unit 5’s Board of Education meeting on Wednesday after the board voted to officially dismiss its transportation employees. It’s a move made after last week’s ruling from the 4th District Appellate Court saying Unit 5 can proceed with outsourcing its transportation needs. AFSCME member and Unit 5 bus driver J.B. Johnson said the decision is “shameful.” ….. AFSCME Council 31 Regional Director Kent Beauchamp said the school board’s move to dismiss the employees actually isn’t legal.

Union to appeal ruling allowing Unit 5 to outsource busing
Source: Maria Nagle, pantagraph.com, June 10, 2014

The union representing McLean County Unit 5 bus drivers and monitors will appeal an appellate court’s decision that allows the school district to continue to outsource its transportation services. At the request of Unit 5, the 4th District Appellate Court reviewed an administrative law judge’s opinion, filed last year with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, that called on the school district to negotiate a union contract with the workers and cancel its busing contract with Cincinnati-based First Student Inc. But the court ruled last week that Unit 5 did not violate the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, so the earlier order was erroneous and must be set aside. In response, American Federation of of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 will ask the appellate court for another review, and “we will be appealing to the Illinois Supreme Court as well,” Renee Nestler, a union representative, said Monday. …

Court upholds Unit 5 bus contract
Source: Eric Stock, WJBC, June 7, 2014

Unit 5 has won a legal battle over its move to outsource transportation services. The 4th District Appellate Court has reversed an earlier decision by the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board to force the district to cancel its contract with First Student and renegotiate a deal with its transportation union. The court ruled this week the district had bargained in good faith with its bus drivers and monitors. In 2012, Unit 5 signed a contract with First Student after the district’s transportation workers had unionized. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees had argued that move was done in retaliation for unionizing. The appellate court noted that AFSCME was given notice that the district would see a third-party contract and that the unions would be able to submit a counter-proposal.

Appellate court upholds Unit 5’s contract to outsource bus services
Source: Maria Nagle, pantagraph.com, June 6, 2014

An appeals court has reversed an earlier decision that ordered McLean County Unit 5 school district to cancel its bus outsourcing contract and resume negotiations with its transportation staff’s union. The 4th District Appellate Court, in an opinion filed Thursday, said evidence indicates Unit 5 bargained in good faith and did not engage in unfair labor practices with its bus drivers and monitors….

Unit 5 still sees bumps in road for bus system
Source: Phyllis Coulter, pantagraph.com, October 15, 2013

McLean County Unit 5 has made progress fixing busing problems from the start of the school year, but lingering issues mean there still may be bumpy roads ahead. The Normal-based district buses about 10,000 students a day along 600 routes in and around the Twin Cities, Carlock, Hudson and Towanda. On top of managing those logistics, the district, which decided to outsource its busing last year, remains locked in a legal battle with the union that represents its drivers and monitors….A First Student routing specialist from Montana assisted Unit 5 this year in fine-tuning routes and establishing a new service for elementary school band students attending practice at junior high schools, said Jim Stonecipher, First Student location manager. Computer-plotted routes may not have matched the reality of student needs and traffic patterns, so adjustments had to be made manually….

Unit 5 OKs budget, calls balancing it no easy feat
Source: Phyllis Coulter, pantagraph.com, September 25, 2013

…In other business, an official of the union representing about 120 bus drivers and 50 bus monitors asked the district to bargain in good faith for a contract and drop the outsourcing approved last year. The reasons given for hiring Cincinnati-based First Student Inc. are not valid, said Ken Beauchamp, regional director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. About 15 bus drivers present at the meeting applauded his remarks. Beauchamp said the district had predicted it would save $1.3 million over three years, but that is not the case. An addendum paying First Student an additional $125,000 plus about $100,000 for attendance bonuses to drivers and monitors were added, he said….The Illinois Education Labor Relations Board last year ruled in favor of AFSCME, calling for Unit 5 to rescind its decision to outsource busing. Beauchamp called for the district to follow that decision….

Unit 5 transportation unfair labor practice hearing begins in Springfield

Source: Kevin Barlow, pantagraph.com, August 21, 2012

Judge Rules in Union’s Favor, Unit Five Bus Drivers Temporarily Protected
Source: Kim Behrens, CentralIllinoisProud.com, July 18, 2012

Judge: Unit 5 can’t outsource buses this fall
Related Ryan Denham, WJBC, July 18, 2012

Unit 5: Bus injunction would be ‘catastrophic’
Source: Ryan Denham, WJBC, July 17, 2012

Unit 5 bus service workers are given termination notice
Source: Chad Weber, CINewsNow.com, July 11, 2012

Unit 5 busing contractor may have to deal with union
Source: Phyllis Coulter, pantagraph.com, June 7, 2012

Unit 5 outsources bus system, eyes $1.5M savings
Source: Ryan Denham, WJBC, June 5, 2012

Final vote on Unit 5 busing comes tonight
Source: Ryan Denham, WJBC, June 5, 2012

Unit 5, bus drivers union to meet as outsourcing decision looms
Source: Phyllis Coulter, pantagraph.com, June 1, 2012

Two Bids Accepted for Unit Five Bus Services
Source: Jacob Long, WMBD/WYZZ-TV, April 2, 2012

Two companies want to take over bus services for McLean County’s Unit Five School District. Proposals were unveiled Monday from Ohio-based First Student and Illinois-based Durham School Services. …. The district expects a contract to be finalized by May. It would be for three years, with the option for two. Unit Five would still own the buses and equipment, and would still be required to pay for capital improvements.