Bay City schools vote to keep current bus drivers
BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) - At Monday night’s meeting, the Bay City Public Schools Board voted unanimously to keep their current bus drivers instead of privatizing their transportation.
There were six yes votes.
“Breathtaking. We can take a breath for the first time,” said bus driver and union vice president Jennifer Irmen.
Sighs of relief, hugs, and celebrations among Bay City Public Schools bus drivers.
“The best decision for our families, our kids, our school system, our community, has been made here tonight,” Irmen said.
“We do understand that it’s unsettling when we go through the process, but again, for being fiscally responsible, for making sure that we’re providing the best services available to our kids, it is important that we occasionally go through and see what else is out there,” said superintendent Stephen Bigelow.
The district heard bids from Auxilio, Mets, Dean Transportation, and First Student last week, but declined to accept any private bids.
“Ultimately, the board of education felt that it was in our best interest to continue with our own bus drivers,” Bigelow said.
For Irmen, it means job security.
“Ha ha kids, you’re still stuck with me!” Irmen said.
It’s been a more than month-long process, starting in the beginning of April, when the district began looking into the idea of privatization.
The bus drivers rallied ahead of every school board meeting.
“There’s certainly power in numbers. I think it definitely had an impact on the board,” Bigelow said.
The ongoing issue of staffing remains as Monday morning the transportation manager resigned.
Bigelow said he is looking to temporarily fill the open transportation manager position as the search for a more permanent fill continues over the summer.
“I’m actually sitting over in the transportation depot right now as the transportation director as well, so the sooner we can get someone in there, the better,” Bigelow said.
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