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Wait. If school bus drivers earn $40,000 a year, why does it cost $1.1 billion to transport students a year? This strike is about job protections, but it has also lifted the curtain on more waste at the Department of Education. Or, as the high-paid consultants like to say, more cost-saving opportunities.
One day after City Hall accused striking bus drivers of holding "our students and city hostage," leaders from the Amalgamated Transit Union fought back. At a news conference today, the union said the Department of Education's charter school expansion is one of the reasons it costs $1.1 billion a year to bus students to and from school.
Union representatives also cite an inefficient system that results in buses with empty seats. While the union wants to discuss cutting costs with City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg isn't interested. He said today, "It's not anything that we have anything to do with. They are not City employees." What do you say?
Do you think bus drivers and matrons are taking the fall for an inefficient busing system that expanded too quickly? Should the Bloomberg administration meet with ATU officials to identify ways to save? How is the ongoing school bus strike affecting you?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
My son is a Department of Education student who lives in Queens and goes to the Hallan School in New Rochelle. It cost me $20 a day to get him back and forth to school not including gas just the tolls. The city is taking its time. The Mayor is trying to save money but why is this coming up now. Most of all its not about the kids on either side. Both sides should stop using the kids a pawns in their battle. Sadly with this Mayor it's going to be a long loosing battle for my son. Can't wait until 2013 ends so he can go somewhere and rot!!
Bloomberg needs to stop being a bully and meet with the union and make a concerted effort to settle this strike for the good of the children and their parents.
Hello my name is Beth from Washington Heights and I would just like to say about this bus strike is that yeah everyone has there rights especially when it comes to work, but due to the fact that of this bus strike me and my kids have been getting sick running back and fourth to school and I have been also and it is very hard and very tiring that its been so much on my behalf that I have no longer been working during the week cause of the bus strike. Please I just wish every one can come to some kind of conclusion and agreement so everything can go back to normal.
Get real people. School expansion is not the problem. New Yorkers need to get over themselves and stop believing that they are different than any city in the country. We should not be paying exponentially more than any city in the country to bus our students, nor should we be offering benefits and job protections to our drivers that no other city does. Period. Bid the contracts immediately and bring this foolishness to an end.
I believe the story about the empty buses because that was mentioned at the start of this walkout. That's the reason why no one can communicate with this mayor. He lies about everything and therefore we suffer the consequences. This remainder of the third term will be the death of us all. How much more can we all take of this man. It's become totally ridiculous.
He finds an answer which is never a reason it's always an excuse to cover up his mistakes and we all know that he is the most sadistic/sarcastic person we have ever come across in our lifetime. Another thing is that he has made so many financial mistakes and he keeps it within his own little group there. Everyone seems programmed. Just a bunch of bobble heads.
Thank you John,
This communist mayor is out of control he decline to negotiate with any union, he strongly believe that everything have to be done his way or no way, and that have to stop, he doesn't own NYC, and we the people have to show him that NYC people are stronger than him. And another thing where is the Governor??? Hellooo Mister Governor I think is time for you to step in or are you going to ignore this issue????? We need you to take care of this situation because this incompetent Mayor can't do anything right..
I'm sure the buck doesn't stop with Doomsberg. Let's invite the people to the table who really care about the final outcome for everyone to benefit!!
Marie, Howard beach
One thing us NYC people want to know how the hell did you get a 3rd term in your clown office we know it was only and I mean only 2 times but your people voted for you not us because you were hurting the people in NYC we never had a vote to get you in 3times but that's ok we can't wait for you to get out of office that us tax payers are paying for you to go here and there but that's ok with you but we are not for taking your b/s the parents in NYC should not put there kids on the scab buses they should protest in front of the schools with the kids and tell the clown Bloomberg to have the rite people from 1181 back on the school buses not scabs parents we know it's hard to keeps the kids home from school we know you have a job but us nyc parents need to tell the moron end the strike his soldiers and him are all clowns they soon will be out of the office then see how it feels
Union leaders will never cut costs. How else would they live high on the hog and too fat to ride in one of those new taxis? Come to think of it, that also applies to politicians.
Port Richmond, SI
bloomberg isn't interested in any solutions because it's all about union busting. he's doing the same thing with teacher evaluations, refusing to negotiate. city workers have been working without contracts for years. King bloomberg's scorched earth anti-union agenda is hurting the schools, parents, labor relations throughout the city and the lives of ordinary working New Yorkers, but he could care less. He wants everyone working for minimum wages.
Meryl from manhattan
Mayoral control is a failure. Families are suffering the old board wasn't perfect but they cared about families and the needs of children.
new york city.
Special needs students should have excellent education opportunities in their communities. If the mayor really cared about kids, students would get the services they need in community schools. The refrain "there is no money" has long gone flat. Give students what they need to learn.
Why am I the taxpayer being asked to front the bill for bus drivers? This dispute is between the bus companies and bus drivers. The only thing the City needs to do is open up the bidding process, after 30+ years! Put it online and make it easy for licensed driving companies to bid.
Frank, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Bloomberg is channeling what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers. He's trying to bust the union. The city should meet with the drivers.
Dont blame the mayor for his lack of empathy and understanding, who told you the grinch had a heart?
The mayor makes no sense. Last week the DOE lost over $200 million dollars because they could not come up with a teacher evaluation system. That is 20% of the $1billion budget for busing. There is no way putting up these contracts up for new bids will save any where near the 20% the mayor and the DOE just threw away. Also, I have yet to hear the mayor address the unions contention that EPP is only illegal for pre-k. It makes it look like he is hiding behind a lie. When the strike first started the mayor made the ignorant statement when he said parents would figure out a way to work around the strike. He is a billionaire so he does not need to worry about taking time off from work to get your child to school. He can afford to pay nannies to do that. How is a single working parent supposed to do that? I'm lucky in that I can share the responsibility with my wife and our bosses have been awfully flexible. I or my wife have to leave 3 hours early to get my son. How long does the mayor think an employer will put up with that? I'm sure his company wouldn't allow that for very long.
Alex in midtown Manhattan.
Im a school social worker for special needs students. I'm concerned that some of my students have not been to school and I can not contact their parents. Some of these students rely on our schools as a safety net to meet their basic needs.
The mayor brings some important agendas however his priority is not set up correctly nor is he really willing to restructure a system that continues to fail its kids on many levels.
i am a special education teacher. i don't think the majority of new yorkers understand the effect this strike is having on the special ed. student population. why, because it doesn't effect their own children. i have a masters and am literally on the 'front line' - and yet the d.o.e. and the mayor is trying to eliminate MY job security. to be honest, i, and most teachers feel most new yorkers don't care about us either. we show up day after day.
why, why, WHY should bus drivers get this privilege of job security? sorry, but they aren't the only people who can drive a bus... and drive it safely. i hate to sound crass but we are talking about UNSKILLED workers. if these people don't care about the kids, there are other people who CAN BE TRAINED and who also have families to feed. why should the tax payers pay $7,000 A YEAR per child? yes, it is a difficult job but there are a LOT of loving caring people who can do it. the fact these people striked only proves they DON'T CARE.
Our mayor considers himself the education mayor. Yet no one mentions the fact that New York City children are losing out on valuable educational school trips because of the bus strike. I am a public school teacher and had to cancel a wonderful trip to Historic Richmond Town - which aligned with our curriculum this month - due to the lack of buses.
Annemarie in Bay Ridge
I think that it's time for this mayor and dept of ed to stop the bureaucracy get to the table and start trying to work out a reasonable solution the children are the ones who are losing out by missing school parents taking time off or altering their hours risking their jobs in the process. 40,000 is not a lot of money in todays economy NYC ridiculous cost of living such as rent and transportation costs now at $104 going to $112. The union was willing to negotiate and he refused. Where's our governor he needs to step up to the plate and try to resolve it either. This mayor has made it clear he doesn't give a damn about the children of the city or his teachers and due to his huge ego strong arming and inability to work with teachers and come up with a fair evaluation system our state lost over 200 billion that's a shame our kids shouldn't have to continue to pay for a lousy incompetent greedy mayor and clueless doe who also want provide bare minimum services and concerned about the bottom line.
I know I will be voting to get rid of Bloomberg when the time comes.
I am a single fulltime working mom, who has constantly been late to work and have to leave early to pick up my child. How long will my job allow me to do this. Bloomberg does not understand or care. Its a great unconvince for parents n students especially the handicap or parents with multiple kids in different schools. What does Bloomberg want parents to do?
Other companies offer their employees some sort of EPP's, and school bus drivers in Boston have EPP then why can't our bus drivers who don't even get paid sick days get EPP?
The major was the sole force behind the many failing charter school and theses charter use up a lot of routes. So he is the reason that the cost of school bus routes have gone up.
Most working people have no such protections to follow the work should they loose there job so why would a bus driver get this protection? That's what unemployment is for and if a bus driver looses work he needs to follow up on “other” work like everyone else would need to do.
Why does the mayor think it's okay to save The City some money at the expense of ordinary working people?
The bus drivers and matrons work under difficult conditions and, in exchange, make a modest living with benefits and some security. I doubt that NYC citizens, whose children are served by these people, want to cheat a few dollars back from them. These are the kind of jobs and workers that should be protected.
I have one thing to say. Why do the bus drivers deserve an EPP? I don't have one...most workers don't have one. That's business.
Steelworkers Local 8751, which represents the school bus drivers and matrons in Boston, has had an EPP since a five-and-a-half-week strike in 1991.
56,000 charter kids vs 1.1 mil in the system. Even if the charters have 11% more kids than other schools using the buses (I need to see if I can verify the data) that would be 6,000 extra kids using the buses out of 150,000 or 4%. It's not the charter driving up costs.
Bloomberg may be arrogant and imperial, but he can't be paid off. its hard to buy off a guy worth billions - he gives away hundreds of millions each year to charities. Let's stick with the facts
It is so shameful that these are the people, the hard working people of America, that continuously become our countries scapegoats for our financial crisis. It is even more shameful that here we are going to congress to fight for immigration visas to keep engineers and others trained in our school that come from other countries...instead of making a commitment to our own American children, even if it takes a generation to educate them....this needs to stop and we need to put our American children first ...
It's obvious that the Mayor has declared War on anything related to the Dept of Ed. He has not negotiated in good faith in this matter or any previous Dept of Ed.
I believe bloomberg is being unreasonable. He has an obvious problem with the educational system and it making everyone's life inconvenient. Teachers n school bus drivers are losing their jobs or having to strike. Education is very important instead of getting rid of educators we should look to cut funds in other ways.
more thoughts ... really? these arguments are pathetic. these 'ordinary' new yorkers who are letting the kids down by not going to work and holding children and parents hostage (who truly deal with so much more than most) will lose their jobs but guess what?
OTHER 'ORDINARY' new yorkers will GET jobs and be grateful for them. again, why does having a drivers license and being human toward children mean you DESERVE a guaranteed job? if that were the case, there are about 150 million other americans in line.
Bill you said why we should have a EEP we should and you don't you know why is because you don't have brains like us people in 1181 have I hope you lose your job and you see how it feels you are big moron so don't talk crap are you a scab