Students and Families Suffer Most In Bus Strike and City Has Itself to Blame
The union contends that it's really asking for protections for the drivers of the 54,000 special needs students who ride school buses. And, as we learned at October's City Council hearing on the dismal start that school buses got off to begin this school year, driver and matron experience with special-needs students is crucial to smoother rides for kids and families.
"These are the drivers who know the roads and are adept at maneuvering busses while navigating the congested streets of New York," Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello said at the October hearing. "Our matrons are the most experienced in assisting students, especially those with special needs or physical disabilities."
This has been a particularly tough year for Ceonzo who said that her son has been on four different buses, and was just beginning to settle into a good groove with his latest bus driver and matron. So, while it seems that the inclusion of an EPP doesn't ensure that students will always have the best drivers and matrons, it does seem certain that operating on the cheap won't help families already struggling with transportation woes.
"I find it hard to fight with these bus drivers...It is not an easy job," Ceonzo says. "I Just wish everyone would worry about what is the best service for the kids. [I'm] not really sure which side is for that."