In a weekly radio address on Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg warns a strike by the City school bus driver's union remains a strong possibility.
The following is excerpted from the address, with details of what to expect and how parents of affected students can prepare:
“Last year, we bid out contracts for pre-school bus routes, and the new contracts will save taxpayers $95 million over five years; that’s money we are putting back into classrooms, where it’s needed most," said Bloomberg.
"This year, we’re bidding out contracts for another 1,100 bus routes that serve children with special needs. But the school bus drivers’ union is demanding that the new contracts include job protections the City is not legally allowed to provide. So there’s nothing the City can do to meet the union’s demands"
In the event of a strike, the following is the plan the City has put in place to help all affected students get to school.
- Students who currently receive yellow school bus service can get a temporary MetroCard valid as long as the strike continues. They will be available at schools and should be requested through the school’s general office.
- Parents of children in grades K-2 can request an additional MetroCard to escort their child to school. So can parents of children who require transportation from their homes directly to their school.
- Parents of children in grades K-6 who get yellow bus service and for whom public transportation to school is not an option can get reimbursed for transportation costs.
- If they decide to drive their children to school, they’ll be reimbursed at a rate of 55 cents per mile. If they use a taxi or car service, they’ll be reimbursed after completing a form available in their schools.
- Students who arrive at school late because of disruptions to yellow bus service will be excused for up to two hours. Children who are unable to attend school because of disruptions to yellow bus service will be marked absent with an explanation code that will ensure their attendance record is not negatively affected.
- Afterschool programs will remain open, but no school busing will be provided.
Parents can call 311 for questions or more information.