Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bus Drivers Resigned – Attendance “Way Off”

Curt Baker

Curt Baker

Krapf bus company out of Pennsylvania was chosen among 4 Requests For Proposal responses to negotiate multiple agreements in preparation for presentation to the Roanoke City School Board on Tuesday. The agreements would include the service level by which the company would be evaluated. In addition there is a shop inventory and parts agreement, an equipment purchases agreement, and a use agreement for the 10 leased buses that may not need to be enforced due to timing.

The bus drivers are “resigned” to the outsourcing of the schools transportation system said bus driver, Pam Johns. Johns said they have had multiple meetings but really no answers to compensation and benefits to be offered by the private entity. Of particular concern were the accumulated sick days of especially those who have been with the system for 20 – 30 years. She said bus driver attendance has dropped “way off” in anticipation of losing the sick days. She said many of the drivers had previously had perfect attendance records. There were several drivers who have left the system. They were mostly part-time or have other jobs said Johns. She feels sure they will lose their VRS retirement that they had just been able to enroll in. They also fear having to pay for all their benefits.

Curt Baker, Operations Director for RCPS, addressed the concerns of Suzanne Moore as it pertained to liability insurance. Baker said the company would be required to carry a set amount of liability insurance in the agreement.

Board member, Lori Vaught was concerned about bus discipline enforcement. Baker replied that the schools current policy on bus discipline would apply to the private company. They “would not impose any discipline of their own … and their is a reporting mechanism that is fairly well defined.”

Baker elaborated on the need for 10 to 15 new buses at a cost of $70,000 each that would have to be born by the school. There are old buses in need of repair and buses so old that they have to scour junk yards to find parts for them.

Board member Courtney Penn said he would like to see an “exit strategy” should we want to go back. Penn suggested and Chairman David Carson agreed that putting “untouchable” cash into a savings fund for that very reason. Tuesday the School Board will vote – the same night they will vote on the attendance zone options and the budget.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Roanoke City Public Schools

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