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Special Needs Students at Risk Under Bloomberg’s NYC School Bus Plan

New York City school children with special physical, emotional and mental needs could be bused to school with general education students under New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to cut student transportation costs, according to the New York Daily News.

Bloomberg forced the city’s yellow school bus drivers and bus matrons on strike earlier this month by dropping a long-standing requirement that proven, experienced and trained drivers and bus monitors retain their jobs when new companies win bids to operate the bus routes.

The current bid proposals from the city would allow bus companies in September to begin mixing special needs students with general population students, according to the Daily News.

For the city, the plan would save money as officials move to overhaul solely special-education bus routes, according to bid documents.

Parents fear that mixing the students will lead to an increase in bullying and other incidents and would be a safety issues for drivers and bus matrons.

Michael Cordiello, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1181, told the paper:

To have the safety of the children based on dollars and cents doesn’t make sense. The city is conducting an experiment with special education kids.

Cordiello has previously noted that the requirement to retain experienced drivers—known as the Employee Protection Provision (EPP)—provides:

the job security needed to ensure that our children are being cared for by the most experienced and safe drivers and matrons. For almost half a century, the EPP has succeeded in creating one of the safest and professional workforces in the nation.

You can support the call for school bus safety by calling Bloomberg’s office at 1-888-833-7428 or texting “Safety1st” to 877877.

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