Transportation Update from the Superintendent

Transportation Video Update from the Superintendent
Posted on 04/16/2019
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Please watch this special video message from Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller, who reflects on the last 24 hours of communications surrounding the negotiations between the school district's busing provider, Petermann Transportation, and their bus drivers. 

Since releasing our last update about the early morning agreement reached to avoid a strike, we have received the unfortunate news from Petermann that the agreement is still tentative, pending the outcome of another vote this evening. For this reason, we must all prepare for another potential strike. 

As Miller mentions, please be on the lookout for a follow-up communication later this afternoon from your school principal detailing their specific drop-off and pick-up procedures in the unfortunate event of another strike.

Thank you for your patience and understanding through this tumultuous and unpredictable process, as we try to convey in as timely a manner as possible the information we are receiving from Petermann. Please review these Frequently Asked Questions for more information about this situation.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Is the bus drivers’ strike really over?  Has the contract been settled?
During the early morning hours of April 16, a tentative agreement was reached between Petermann Transportation and the bus drivers’ union. The union members will vote on that contract tonight.

Why did the bus drivers vote to strike?  What were the issues?
The negotiation specifics are between Petermann and the Teamsters, the union representing the bus drivers. Lakota is not involved in the negotiations and only has information officially shared by Petermann’s representatives.

If the drivers strike, will the drop-off and dismissal times be extended?
Throughout the duration of a strike, Lakota will extend the times for drop-off and pick-up by at least one hour at our K-8 buildings. Building principals will share detailed times with their families.

How will schools manage increased traffic flow during arrival and dismissal?
Principals will communicate detailed information to our families regarding their specific drop-off and pick-up procedures.

Are we utilizing additional police/SROs during drop-off and dismissal?
In the case of a strike, both the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and West Chester Police have indicated that they are able to provide additional patrols and support for arrival and dismissal.

Is Lakota considering switching transportation providers or returning to in-house busing in light of this situation?
Lakota Schools has a multi-year contract with Petermann. We are always evaluating what is in the best interest of our students. Any additional costs incurred to settle negotiations will not be passed on to Lakota. The contract between Lakota and Petermann sets annual caps on expenditure increases.

Is Lakota considering making changes to the transportation services we currently provide?  Are we considering cuts?
We are not considering any changes to transportation at this time.

Are the bus drivers during negotiations the regular drivers or substitutes?
We anticipate the majority of the regular drivers to drive their assigned routes. There may be a few routes with substitute bus drivers, just as we would have on any operating day.

Why weren’t we notified sooner?
The Lakota administrative team has been in close communication with the Petermann leadership team throughout the entire negotiation process. Through the feedback we received from leadership, both the Petermann and Teamsters negotiation teams felt positive about the progress of the negotiations. We were told that an agreement had been reached on Saturday morning and that both teams were satisfied. At this time, there was no indication of a possible strike.

Once we began to hear that some bus drivers were not satisfied with the tentative agreement on Monday, we issued our first communication to parents. Last night, we were stunned by the news that the contract was not approved and a strike would occur. At this time, we began the process to communicate this information to our parents, along with what actions would need to occur today to get students to and from school.

To be clear, this was not a negotiation between Lakota and Petermann’s bus drivers. The negotiations were between our transportation service provider, Petermann, and the bus drivers’ labor union, Teamsters. Lakota is not involved in the negotiations and only has information officially shared by Petermann’s representatives.