Students with disabilities will have limited access to transportation while the Lakota Local Schools bus drivers are on strike, the district announced Saturday.
Drivers who want to continue working in spite of the union’s strike, which went into effect after a vote Thursday evening, and substitute drivers will bring students with disabilities in kindergarten through high school to and from school − but not five days a week. There are not enough drivers to provide busing for preschoolers with disabilities.
“Transportation is the only thing affected at this time. Please be on the lookout for specific communication from your building principal as to which bus routes will receive transportation services on which days,” Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli wrote to district families on Saturday.
The district is not marking students tardy or absent if they are unable to find transportation to school during the strike. The strike also impacts parochial and private school students who utilize Lakota transportation, and after-school activities including athletics.
Why are Lakota Local Schools bus drivers on strike?
Lakota Local Schools shared a message on behalf of Petermann Transportation, the busing company it contracts with to transport students, with district families on Friday.
The strike is not due to pay and benefits disputes, the message reads. Instead, Teamster Local 100, the bus driver’s union, is not in favor of on-board video and other technology use that the school district and Petermann want to implement for safety reasons.
“We believe these resources are invaluable tools to improve safety and maintain accountability. Our unrestricted ability to use this technology and video data is vital to us addressing those instances when an employee may fail to meet our safety and performance expectations,” Petermann’s message to families reads. “We believe your child’s safety during school transportation must come before any other competing concern.”
Nearly 100 bus drivers and aides came out to the picket line on Yankee Road Friday morning. Some of the union members told The Enquirer that they don’t agree surveillance cameras on buses should be used to discipline drivers.
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The union and bus company remain in negotiations.
“Thank you for your continued patience, support and partnership during this challenge. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more from Petermann,” Lolli wrote.