A quad city school district is looking to outsource its school bus drivers. On Sunday, June 9, 2013 Mercer County parents discussed their concerns about the possibility. Tempers flared in Joy, Illinois at a meeting that was held so the public could voice their concerns.
“The parents of this district and the tax payers of this district need to be informed about what the school board is deciding to do,” says Darla Dixon, President of the Mercer County Transportation Education Association.
The school board is looking at possibly outsourcing their district’s bus drivers and monitors to save around $100,000 for the first year.
“We’ve made a lot of cuts that were sort of the easy, the low hanging fruits so to say and were at a point now where we’re going to have to make additional cuts and those cuts are getting harder and harder to find,” says Marta Tucker, President of the Mercer County School Board.
Those opposed are afraid they will lose their jobs to the new company, “Bus drivers work in this community, they live in this community, they haul this community’s children,” says Dixon.
The school board says that’s not the case, “I believe that they are willing to keep most of the drivers here, in fact I think they’re required to by law,” says Tucker.
It would be up to the current bus drivers if they want to work for the private company, but that could also mean they could lose their benefits and take a cut in pay.
Another concern is that the cost will fall on the taxpayers, if the company decides to raise their rates, but looking at pass experience with the company, the school board doesn’t believe so.
It’s now left in the school board’s hands, “This is a financial decision this is being made, we’re not at all unhappy with any of the drivers or with the services,” says Tucker.
The school board will meet Thursday, June 13, 2013 where they hope to make a decision. The public is encouraged to come and share their opinion.