Parents, advocates rally as NYC schools faced with looming potential school bus strike
New York City schools are back in full swing on Thursday, and a school bus strike is looming over the heads of city officials and families alike.
Members of Parents to Improve School Transportation (PIST) and advocates rallied outside of Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan on Tuesday to call on city officials to ensure that school buses will be available to city students.
The Department of Education released a contingency plan in response to the potential strike that includes offering emergency MetroCards for families and access to rideshare services. They also are offering the possibility of reimbursing students who need to take taxis to school.
An estimated 150,000 public school students could be affected by the school bus strike. The strike is set to start if the city’s Department of Education and Amalgamated Transit Union 1181, which represents school bus workers, don’t reach a deal.
“We don’t show that we value our children until we value our staff,” said Paullette Healy, a parent rallying alongside PIST. “If you think that a bus driver who is tasked with the care of transporting children back and forth to school 365 days a year isn't worth 25 dollars an hour, then where are we as a society?"
PIST says that regardless of the current contract dispute, they want a school bus Bill of Rights for the future that would empower advocates, parents, and school bus workers to ensure that transportation is not a worry for New York City students.