Parents concerned after Danville school bus drivers threaten to strike
DANVILLE, Ill. (WCCU) —
Starting in November some students in Danville may not have a way to get to school. First Student Bus Company and the Teamsters Local Union 26 are having trouble reaching an agreement during contract negotiations. The bus company provides bus service for all students in Danville School District 118.
"I can't go back and forth from work to get my kids back to school and home,” parent, Lisa Boyd said. “That would be a huge problem. They need to get it together."
A strike would leave many students without transportation to school.
"The school district wants to be proactive and really look at how can we safely get our kids to school each day,” Assistant Superintendent John Hart said.
The bus company is in a 21-day cooling period, but it is scheduled to end November 2. Unless a settlement is reached by that date, the bus drivers could strike as soon as November 3.
"We're afraid that we'll have too many kids walking and if you have kids walking, the time is going to change so it's going to get dark sooner and we absolutely don't want young children walking at night,” Hart said.
Parents would have to take students to school or students can use the mass transit service. The worst case scenario - close all schools until a settlement between the bus company and drivers is reached.
"That would be a problem too because I wouldn't have someone watching my kids,” Boyd said.
If schools were to close students and staff will make up the days lost at the end of the school year.
"I'm supposed to graduate in December, so we might not get to graduate early,” senior at Danville High School, Elmonia Taylor said. “It makes me feel bad, like I really want to graduate early so I can start focusing on college.”
The negotiations are outside of the district's control, but they said they hope the strike can be averted so students won't be impacted.
First Student Bus Company said they have a strong relationship with the drivers and appreciate and respect the work they do. They plan to meet with the union by the end of October to further discuss contracts.