Category Archives: School.Bus

Boston School Bus Drivers Battle Racism and Privatization

Source: Lamont Lilly, Dissent Voice, April 28, 2015

The unique approach of Boston School Bus Union, Steelworkers Local 8751 offers a much needed new blueprint for building power within poor and working class communities. This particular union marks the spot where organized labor meets oppressed and marginalized people where they are. During my travels there, it was quite inspiring to see a local union work hand in hand with neighborhood youth against police brutality. It was quite encouraging to see the rank-and-file of the Boston school bus drivers work with parents and community members to organize against school closings and badly timed budget cuts to public education…..
Related:
After Morning Delays, BPS Bus Routes Staffed
Source: WBUR, August 26, 2014

All Boston Public Schools bus routes will be covered on normal schedules Tuesday afternoon for 3,500 students who need rides home from charter schools and special ed programs. Several hundred students were stranded at bus stops Monday and routes were delayed Tuesday morning amid ongoing contract negotiations between the bus drivers’ union and the company that employs them. …After about a dozen bus routes were left unstaffed Monday morning, leaving 400 students stranded, the school department had to scramble to ensure even more routes scheduled to run Tuesday morning were covered….

At rally, Walsh urged to support fired school bus drivers
Source: Michael Levenson, Boston Globe, February 2, 2014

At a fiery Dorchester rally backed by the state’s largest labor group, several speakers urged Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Saturday to push for reinstatement of four Boston school bus drivers fired in November after they were accused of instigating an illegal strike. Veolia Corp., which manages Boston’s school buses, fired the workers after most buses never drove off their lots on Oct. 8 and many of the 30,000 students who take school buses each morning were left without transportation. Union activists contend that Veolia locked the workers out of the bus yards, preventing them from driving after they tried to meet with company officials to hash out their grievances over pay, benefits, and other issues….

Boston School Bus Drivers Back Behind The Wheel After Strike
Source: Scott Neuman, NPR, Two-Way blog, October 9, 2013

Hundreds of Boston school bus drivers are back on the job Wednesday following one-day wildcat strike that sent parents scrambling to find a way to get their kids to and from classes.

The drivers’ union said Wednesday that it had agreed to return to work after the company contracted by the school to run bus services, Veolia Transportation Inc., agreed to a meeting with the union. About 600 drivers had walked off the job.

Judge denies back to work order for Boston bus drivers
Source: Josh Brogadir, NECN, October 8, 2013

Boston school bus drivers return to work for morning shift, status of afternoon shift remains unknown
Source: Garrett Quinn, masslive.com, October 9, 2013

Collective Bargaining Is Unexpected Hot Button Issue In Boston Mayoral Race
Source: Peter Kadzis, WGHB, October 8, 2013

A scramble across city as school drivers strike / Angry words fly; prospect unclear for resumption
Source: James Vaznis and John R. Ellement, Boston Globe, October 8, 2013

Boston school bus drivers went on strike Tuesday morning — with no advance warning to families — leaving thousands of children stranded at home or at bus stops as the city grappled with its first such strike in more than two decades. Drivers showed up before dawn, but most refused to board their buses to protest myriad grievances, from payroll problems to a new Web page that allows parents to track their children’s buses. Bus yard managers eventually ordered them off the four lots and locked the gates, as union members shouted back and forth, with police cruisers parked nearby. It remained unclear whether the drivers, who work for a private company contracted by the city, would return to their jobs Wednesday morning….

…Outside the Readville bus yard in Hyde Park Tuesday night, bus drivers cheered after they learned that a judge had denied the injunction against the strike. Steve Kirschbaum, chairman of the bus union’s grievance committee, said members are simply asking that its contract be honored by Veolia Corp., which oversees the bus fleet for the city. He characterized the situation as an “illegal lockout,” saying Veolia ordered drivers off its property under the threat of arrest. …

Largest Private-Sector Operator Veolia Transportation Contracts With Boston Public Schools
Source: Sylvia Arroyo, School Transportation News, April 16, 2013

Illinois-based company Veolia Transportation gained its first school contract with Boston Public Schools to manage operations and maintenance of the school district’s yellow bus fleet.

Company officials said the five-year contract begins in July and has multiple contact extension options. Before Veolia, BPS had a contract with First Student. Based in Lombard, Ill., Veolia Transportation is the largest private-sector operator of various modes of transit in North America, including bus, rail, paratransit, shuttle, and sedan and taxi services. BPS is Veolia’s first school district client….Veolia will manage all aspects of operations, including safety performance, training, hiring and management of employees and vehicle maintenance. All current school bus drivers will become Veolia employees, and the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement between the current operator and the bus drivers’ union, including salary and benefit packages, will remain in effect and be assumed by Veolia….

School bus driver from Port Jervis gets 2 years in prison after crash / Driving and drugs don’t mix in court

Source: Heather Yakin, Times Herald-Record, April 22, 2014

A former bus driver from Port Jervis was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for a 2013 school bus crash she caused by driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Caitlin Railo, 32, pleaded guilty in December in Orange County Court to second-degree assault and aggravated driving while ability impaired by drugs, felonies, in the Feb. 14, 2013 crash in Huguenot. Railo was driving for Quality Bus Service, transporting students for the Port Jervis School District….
Related:
Port Jervis schools to privatize bus system
Source: By Stephen Sacco, Times Herald-Record (NY), November 18, 2008

PORT JERVIS — The Port Jervis School District is planning to privatize its transportation system by the end of the school year in 2010. District officials say capital investments weren’t made, so they can’t run the system properly. Union representative and district bus driver Betty Kranz, however, says the decision is causing distress to people who might lose their jobs. …… A recent negotiation with the CSEA, the union that represents the bus drivers, allows the district to bid out to a private company a minimum of five bus runs. In exchange, the district has guaranteed that all current transportation department employees, even those on leave, will keep their jobs at least until the 2009-2010 school year, which ends on June 30, 2010. The CSEA contract also ends on June 30, 2010.

PJ School District approves privatizing student transportation in budget
Source: Mid Hudson News (NY), April 24, 2009

The Port Jervis City School District Board of Education Thursday night approved a $59 million 2009-2010 academic year budget which includes the privatization of student transportation. …… There are 100 district employees who work in the transportation department and are represented by the CSEA. Some may get picked up by the private company, but they would lose in the end, said union spokeswoman Jessica Ladlee. “It’s lower wages, minimum benefits,” she said.
“Right now, we have workers here who have invested many, many years with the district, but they are not quite at retirement age, so it puts them in a very tough position because they had years in the state retirement system but they are not quite where they need to be in order to receive a full pension.”…

First Student closing location, laying off 80

Source: WIVB, April 17, 2014

First Student is closing its Getzville location and laying off around 80 employees. The transport company would not say what led to the decision to close their Millersport Highway facility, but Student Transportation of America Inc. announced their company had been awarded contracts with Batavia City Schools, the Attica Central School District, and Williamsville Central Schools….
Related:
First Student to close Getzville office
Source: TWC, April 18, 2014

First Student to close Getzville office
…First Student notified the state that its office will close on July 14. It cited economic reasons in its notice to the state labor department….

Spring Grove school district awards contract to Red Lion Bus Co. /The York County company beat out five others

Source: Mark Walters, Evening Sun, April 22, 2014

Spring Grove Area School District selected a transportation company for its school bus services, and it was not the cheapest option on the table.

School board members awarded Red Lion Bus Company a seven-year contract on April 21, said George Ioannidis, business manager for the district. Red Lion’s proposal came in at approximately $2.712 annually. The district was considering proposals ranging in price from $2.367 million to $2.944 million per year….

Durham was taken off the table along with F&S Transportation, Student Transportation Inc. and First Student Inc. at the school board’s April 7 meeting. The companies were nixed due to unfavorable language and cost-prohibitive matters, Ioannidis said earlier this month.

Spring Grove has had a contract with Durham School Services for eight years. Durham’s contract runs through the end of this school year. The district does not own the buses, and the drivers are Durham employees….

STA wins 2 Pennsylvania contracts

Source: School Bus Fleet, April 16, 2014

Student Transportation of America (STA), a subsidiary of Student Transportation Inc., has been awarded two new school transportation contracts in Pennsylvania: Hempfield School District and East Penn School District. Both contracts were recently awarded and negotiated with the districts to change from the incumbent provider, and officials said the contracts will generate $10 million in new annualized revenue for STA starting next school year. … Both contracts are five-year agreements with the option to renew for additional years and include customer-paid fuel….

Union stands behind drivers as Princeton outsources bus service

Source: Kelly McBride, communitypress.com, April 9, 2014

The union that represents school bus drivers is refocusing after Princeton City Schools decided to outsource its bus service to First Student. After the district posted the announcement, along with a letter to parents, on its website, the union issued a statement of support for the drivers. “Due to the Board of Education’s decision to outsource the bus drivers, the Ohio Association Of Public School Employees will continue to represent these folks,” Derryl Hall, of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, said in a statement. … “We will also attempt to work with the Board of Education to provide for a transition to the new employer First Student,” Hall said. “However, due to the uncertainty of whether 100 percent of the employees will be hired by First Student, and the fact that Princeton will cancel their medical insurance in June, that will make these discussions strenuous.” Local 174 is the union for the 66 Princeton employees affected by the change, though the contract with First Students hasn’t yet been finalized…

Teamsters Back School Bus Drivers in Fight Against ‘Rampant’ Wage Theft

Source: Bruce Vail, Talking Union blog, March 11, 2014

More than 350 Baltimore-area bus drivers are preparing to celebrate victory in a $1.25 million wage theft case against Durham School Services, an Illinois-based bus-contracting company with operations across much of the country. The case, which covers the employees at Durham between March 2010 and September 2013, reflects a troubling national trend of companies cheating workers out of their earnings. ….

…. The settlement of the U.S. District Court case should be finalized April 4, with distribution of the stolen wage money following immediately afterward, says Moe Jackson, a union organizer for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 570. For almost two years, the local has been trying to organize the drivers and aides at Rosedale, Jackson says, where employees are also bristling over low pay, substandard benefits and overbearing management practices. The Teamsters initiated the wage theft case on behalf of the workers, officers say, as a step in the unionizing process.

At Rosedale, Durham operates under a contract with Baltimore City Public Schools, but its business extends to more than 30 U.S. states, according to company spokesperson Molly Hart. As of the 2013-2014 school year, Durham, a subsidiary of the U.K.-based National Express Group, employs more than 18,000 workers to transport about one million school kids on 17,000 vehicles……

Ohio’s urban districts cut services to provide busing to privately run charter schools (Part 3 of 3)

Source: Doug Livingston, Beacon Journal, March 31, 2014

About this charter school series Ohio’s public school buses are traveling farther each year to pick up fewer kids, and it’s costing taxpayers more money. It’s an unintended consequence of school choice. State officials have forced traditional public schools to crisscross their cities to pick up and deliver children to privately run charter schools, often while cutting transportation to their own kids. The cost for the door-to-door service is significant: About 44 percent more per child, according to an analysis of statewide data.
Related:
More than 100 publicly funded charter schools fail to disclose who is in charge (part 1 of 3)
Source: John C. Veauthier and Karen S. Bell, heNewsOutlet.org, March 29, 2014

…That was not out of the ordinary in calls to nearly 300 Ohio charter schools — funded with state and local tax dollars and, by law, subject to the same transparency rules as traditional schools.

The calls were made as part of a school-choice project by the Akron Beacon Journal and the News­Outlet, a consortium of journalism programs at Youngstown State University, the University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College.

In a phone-call blitz that began in early January, students in the journalism lab called 294 of Ohio’s 393 charter schools in operation at the time, seeking basic information:
• Who runs the building?
• Who is that person’s supervisor?
• Who is the management company in charge?
• How does one contact the school board?
• When does the board meet?

Public accountability was difficult. Of the 294 called, the results by March 26 were:
• 114 — more than a third — did not return messages seeking information.
• Eight refused to answer.
• Seven said they would call back but did not.
• 73 provided some of the information.
• 80, or about 1 in 4, provided the information requested…

IRS sets rules on how charter schools qualify for tax-exempt status
Source: Ohio.com, March 30, 2014

Board members at White Hat charter schools say they have little control over public funds (part 2 of 3)
Source: Doug Livingston, Beacon Journal, March 30, 2014

School bus driver facing charges after allegedly abandoning William Penn students

Source: Cindy Scharr, Delaware County Daily Times, March 25, 2014

A substitute school bus driver was arrested Monday after he allegedly ordered elementary school children, some as young as 5 years old, off of his bus, blocks away from their stops. … It was at 4:06 p.m. Monday that police received a call from the frantic mother of a 5-year-old boy who had failed to get off Bus No. 712 at his stop. The woman told police she went to the scheduled bus stop at 14th and Main streets and waited, but when the bus arrived — some 30 minute late — only a handful of the children who were usually on the bus got off. When the woman asked the other children about her son, they told her that the bus driver had forced number of children off of the bus at different locations, Smythe said. According to the police chief, even though the bus company, First Student, which handles transportation for the district, and the school district have the ability to monitor buses by GPS, police were unaware of the situation until the boy’s mother called. …

Kansas district extends contract with First Student

Source: School Bus Fleet, March 24, 2014

First Student has retained its student transportation contract with Shawnee Mission (Kan.) School District 512. With about 27,000 students, Shawnee Mission School District 512 is the third largest school district in Kansas. The contract is a five-year agreement that includes the operation, maintenance and management of a fleet of more than 200 vehicles that services 50 schools throughout the district….