NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration recently rejected a round of bids from school bus companies that did not include certain protections for experienced bus drivers, delaying the bidding process until a state legislature vote on a law that would reinstate them, Capital New York reports.

The bids were for 1,569 routes that will serve special-needs students this summer, according to the news source. A City Hall official told Capital New York that the service will continue under existing contracts, which contain the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) for longtime bus drivers.

De Blasio has planned to restore the protections ever since they were removed by former mayor Michael Bloomberg, which led to a month-long bus strike in 2013. De Blasio has argued that retaining experienced bus drivers is a matter of safety for schoolchildren.

The City Council passed a bill supported by de Blasio last summer that created a $42 million grant program to subsidize more experienced bus drivers while they await the official reinstatement of EPP, according to the news source. The program faced controversy from a watchdog budget group that argued that it violated the city's protocol for collective bargaining, as city workers' wages are not negotiated via legislation.

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