School Bus Strike Week-Two Reimbursement Details

The Office of Pupil Transportation sent detailed information to principals and transportation coordinators last week to clarify the conditions of reimbursing parents for costs they incur while getting their children to and from school.

Parents will be reimbursed only for a one-way trip in the morning and a one-way trip in the afternoon. In other words, reimbursement will cover taking the child to school, but not for any trips after dropping the child off at school. In the afternoon, the parent is reimbursed for taking the child home from school but not for getting to school to pick up the child.

For those trips, parents may use the MetroCards that OPT provided. The Parent Strike Metro Cards are the same as a regular 30-day unlimited MetroCard.

In addition, parents were reminded that if a school has a private bus or van that can pick up students who would otherwise be eligible for Yellow Bus transportation (were it not for the strike), as long as the private bus or van gives each parent a receipt, the parent may be reimbursed, similar to how they would be reimbursed for car service expenses.

A number of ambulette/paratransit providers are offering to provide parents discount rates for transporting groups of special education students who go to a single destination (e.g. the same school).

Seeking a speedy end to the strike, a consortium of 20 bus companies filed two complaints with the National Labor Relations Board last Wednesday, accusing the union of waging an unlawful secondary strike and of not bargaining in good faith. James Paulsen, director of the NLRB’s Brooklyn office, said the board is reviewing the complaints. He said that if the NLRB finds that the union is pursuing an unlawful secondary strike, it will seek a federal injunction to halt the labor action.

The city’s last school bus strike, in 1979, lasted 14 weeks.