Since pre-K, my son’s New York City school bus drivers and matrons have always been professional, punctual, and polite. This year, every morning as Brooks boards his yellow minibus, I watch the matron help him with his seat belt, and I know that she and the driver will look out for him because they understand that he can’t always speak up for himself. They both have years of experience with special needs busing, and because of that, my husband and I can wave goodbye to Brooks comforted by the fact that he feels safe and is in good hands.
I could go on indefinitely about the mind-numbing bureaucracy of the Office of Pupil Transportation when it comes to setting up routes and travel times, but our experience of the drivers and matrons in the field has always been positive.
But this week, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott, our dependable allies will likely have no option but to strike.
Chancellor Walcott claims: “Though the City cannot legally do what the bus drivers’ union wants, they are threatening a strike that would impact our students and families.”. Of course, that is hardly the full story: according to PIST (Parents to Improve School Transportation): The City is hiding behind an unrelated Court of Appeals decision that does not apply to special education children.
Does it make any sense to cut our school bus driver salaries below the current annual $36,000 average? Given that we pay our sanitation workers an average salary of $49,600, the truth is that we spend more money transporting our garbage than our school children. If you’re as appalled by this statistic as I am, please take a moment to sign this petition.
Since the DOE’s pattern of doling out indignities to special education families is not changing anytime soon, chances are that my husband and I, along with 52,000 other special needs parents, will be turning our lives upside down this week figuring out how to get our kids to and from school.
The union is holding our kids hostages to get their demands. If they win they will go further, buses will become more expensive and we will end up with cuts in services.
You have no idea what you are talking about! The union is responsible for all costs incurred! They pay their own health insurance, pensions, etc. The city has nothing to do with their expenses. Your mayor and school chancellor are inconveniencing our children and placing them in grave danger. They are citing legislation that has nothing to do with special needs children because they know that those that are using the service and work as bus drivers and matrons would not know the difference. If the CITY pays its employees over 50,000 to transport garbage why is it an issue to offer job security to our children’s certified bus drivers and matrons? Is the city’s garbage worth more than our YOUTH!
are you one of Bloomy’s puppets. Search and read the facts before opening your mouth. The union is not holding the children hostage the damn Mayor caused this . The EPP has been in place since 1979 where does he come off changing it now and making it illegal? Please read the articles and see how he lies. He has yet to answer the unions call for a debate what is he affraid of!
Thank you for writing this! I have a some on the spectrum myself and know that what Bloomberg has been saying is not the full story. My son matters and the drivers, staff, teachers, etc. responsible for his well being should be the best available, not the cheapest. That can’t be illegal to request…
I wrote about this today too. I understand why they are striking, but it won’t help them. I the city feels the need to cut costs and that is understandable. I am afraid of what the cheaper bus drivers will have to offer though.
The reality is that private bus company drivers and matrons are not given criminal background checks, they are not properly trained, and they are not mandated to have a squeaky clean records. I most certainly do not want felons, child molesters, nor inexperience drivers/ matrons transferring my disabled child from here to the corner. Bloomberg is a bully and needs to be Fidel Castro’s right hand man! He has run his course in this city that will soon be renamed Gotham should he remain in office! We need to stand up and fight for whats RIGHT!
I am a retired sanitation man with children on the autism spectrum as well who depend on yellow school bus service and I have to say in regards to “Given that we pay our sanitation workers an average salary of $49,600, the truth is that we spend more money transporting our garbage than our school children. ” you have no idea as to what you are talking about! Collection of both refuse and recycling as well as street cleaning and snow removal is just as valuable as transporting our children to school. Think about what kind of health concerns we would have if we did not have sanitation!
Would you tolerate dirty streets that children play in or that doesn’t matter because today’s children are too busy with video games, I-Pads and computers? What about snow removal? imagine you wont be able to go anywhere if the snow wasn’t removed off of city streets never mind that! What about first responders who can’t go down your street if in the event of your house burning or if you had a medical emergency where an ambulance is not able to get you to a hospital if the ambulance is stuck in the snow because there was no sanitation department of NYC! You also don’t know how DSNY workers as well as Emergency first responders sacrifice to make this a safe and healthy city to live in. I served many years in sanitation and I took pride in what I did and no one should have the right to make a comment like that!
I never intended to denigrate your profession and I agree whole-heartedly that sanitation is a vital city service. But not 38% more vital than school bus drivers as the pay scale suggests.
The mayor needs to stop hiding and meet with our president. It is very important for both workers and students. Many are being impacted by this strike
I am a trained escort for 10 years, The children we transport are those with special needs and I can tell you first hand that if the mayor has his way there will be untrained people handling your children. People who do not know what to do when a child is acting out, how to calm them . They are not going to get on and off the bus for the childs safety. Your children will not be safe! We have two petitions going one to President Obama asking for his help and one to Governor Cuomo asking for his help. You can find them on ATU 1181 on facebook under Ann Marie Walton post. or visit my page they are there please as parents of Special needs students sign sign sign and help get us back to work the children need us.. Thank you all!