Rockford Public Schools Vote On Transportation; Bus Drivers Angry
RPS 205 voted on outsourcing bus transportation, a move they say could save $400,000 over the next few years.
The Rockford Public School District board met Tuesday night to vote on outsourcing bus transportation effective June 1. The move would save RPS 205 just over $130,000 a year for three years. Their bus drivers argue the impact they have in being a part of students' lives. RPS 205 bus driver Stan Jones told Eyewitness News,
Outsourcing is not always the key. It is not always about money, it is about community. It takes a community to raise a child, we are part of that community but we've just been told we are not,"
It looks like Stan Jones and his peers will have to go through the proper channels of landing a job at First Student because RPS 205 voted "yes" to outsource bus transportation using the services of privately owned First Student. First Student already provides transportation for districts near Rockford, including Belvidere and Rockton.
This decision doesn't necessarily mean drivers will be without a job, according to WREX current drivers will be given the first opportunities at a job at First Student with the same benefits package currently offered by RPS 205. Eyewitness News says that, by law, current drivers the outsourced company will offer them the position they hold right now.
It's also worth noting the decision isn't final and there is a chance the school district could change their mind. RPS 205 and First Student must now work out a contract before anything is 100% official.
Eyewitness news said several current drivers left the meeting angry, despite being able to keep their current job with a different company. Drivers also question whether or not this decision stems from a recent strike by drivers, paraprofessionals, and nutritionists that happened in March.