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 Contractor operation vs. District operation
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Davidrte9
Senior Member

United States
98 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2008 :  06:05:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been involved in Pupil transportation since 2003. I work for a small 1400 student rural school dist. The majority of the district consist of very poor people. The rest is Family farms. We have 16 active bus routes that do just two runs each a day as we carry all grades on each run. My question is this. Besides loosing our state pension rights, what is the real down side of working for a contractor?

We are currently paid a combinination of route pay for regular routes (we have no idea as to how they come up with the figures and the Supt. cannot tells us either) and hourly when we do trips. We have no benifits other than pension (medical or otherwise) unless you work another job at the school(as I do) to accumulate more than 30 hours a week. You then get an extra $200.00 per month that you can apply towards a benifit package or take the cash.

Ipersonall feel that a contractor may not be such a bad deal because if you are interested in the possibility of moving up, you may have the opportunity to do so within the corp. structure. Is this a possibility? I would like to hear from you people working for contractors to tell me about the ups and downs. I know the MEA/NEA is totally aganst priviatization but for all the good they do us, who cares.

mlkdrives41
Top Member

USA
2055 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2008 :  10:13:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think it would depend on the contractor. If they offer benefits like sick days and so on. Do you have any kind of drivers' association or union? That might help you get better pay and/or benefits.

Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm!
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Davidrte9
Senior Member

United States
98 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2008 :  10:49:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes we have a union if that is what you want to call it. The barganing committee managed to satisfy their own agenda's during the last negotiations but got the membership a 1/2 of one percent raise per year for the next three years. Effective getting us a pay reduction of about 3 per cent per year if you figure in inflation. Another over looked item was employee mileage when you use your personal vehicle for dist use. Some of us have to run for parts or attend meetings and use our own cars. Our contract specifically states a $.30 per mile reimbursment when the federal rate is $.508 which the Teachers get because their contract states they get federal rate. For all the good this union is doing us, we would probably be bettr off with out it. See my other post about the Bus driver who made the mistake. Our supervisor has done more for us (she was a former AFSCME member before she went into management at another dist.) than our union has.
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2008 :  10:55:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I doubt a contractor would put you in a better position. Not all contractors offer benefits (the one I drive for only offeres 401K for drivers under 40 hrs/wk), and the pay is barely enough to live on unless supported by a second household income. You would only be guaranteed benefits if the school board requires them in the contract, and if you can convince them to do that, they might as well just provide them on their own. You might luck out and get a company with a good benefits package, but every time the contract goes out to bid you risk losing that.
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Davidrte9
Senior Member

United States
98 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2008 :  1:07:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is kind of what I thought but our district is like most, if it looks like the troops are getting a little strength, they threaten privatization. Personally I think it would cost the dist. too much just to bring the fleet up to a level that First Student or Dean would even be willing to take a look at us that they are just bettr off running their own operation.
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mlkdrives41
Top Member

USA
2055 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2008 :  10:00:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The district I work for now went through this years ago. It got right down to the vote and they didn't go with the contractor. It was an extremely stressful time for the small group of loyal drivers who had invested a lot of years with the district. It may have been that the contractor didn't see a profit operating the fleet but they are still district run and probably better off for it. They do an amazing job considering what they have to work with--vehicle and facility-wise. The number and variety of trips that get done on a monthly basis...wow.

Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm!
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