New York News
Bus strike figureheads to testify before City Council committee
CHELSEA -- A hearing is scheduled Friday on the New York City school bus drivers' strike and the cost of student transportation.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott will be among those testifying before the New York City Council committees on education and finance.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 is currently on strike over a contested Employee Protection Provision it wants included in its next contract. Mayor Michael Bloomberg contends it would be illegal for the city to include the EPP.
Walcott, ATU International President Larry Hanley, ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello and union members will testify before the joint oversight committee to examine the costs of transporting students to and from school.
Just 152,000 of New York City's 1.1 million public schoolchildren ride yellow school buses, but the cost of busing students has risen from $100 million in 1979 to $1.1 billion today.
The city contracts with private bus companies, and Bloomberg has said the city must seek competitive bids to save money.
Some school buses have been running because their drivers are not unionized or belong to unions that are not on strike.
The city Department of Education says that 2,829 bus routes are operating out of 7,700 total routes. M/p>
Some 54,000 of the children who rely on school buses are special-needs students, many in wheelchairs, and only about two-thirds of those students have been attending school since the strike started Jan. 16.
The Department of Education is providing free transit passes and taxi reimbursements so families don't have to pay to get their children to school. In addition, the department is posting materials online for students who can't get to school.
The DOE will continue to update New Yorkers and will post new information on Schools.NYC.gov. Information will also be available at 311.
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