The New York City schools chancellor Dennis Walcott is suggesting parents of 152,000 students to find alternative ways to get to class due to the threatening a school bus strike.
Officials of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union say they're trying to avert a strike, but school officials are taking the necessary steps. The city is offering reimbursements and Metrocards to parents who would need transportation alternatives.
If they're younger, a parent or guardian also would get a MetroCard to escort a child. And in the case of special needs children, families would get reimbursed for non-public transportation.
"A strike would affect our most vulnerable students," Chancellor Dennis Walcott told a news conference at the Manhattan headquarters of the Department of Education Sunday.
The children who use the yellow school buses include 54,000 with disabilities, the chancellor said, and the "union should stop playing games, issuing threats of striking" — but not saying which day it might happen.
"The union has said, 'Well, maybe on Monday, well maybe Wednesday, maybe we'll do it, maybe we won't do it.' They're jerking our kids around," Walcott said. "We can't allow that to happen."
The city is looking to cut transportation costs and has put bus contracts up for a bid. The union is contesting the lack of employee protections saying many current drivers could suddenly lose their jobs once their contracts are up in June.
A strike would impact all students who use the buses, including parochial and private schools.
New York City has 1.1 million students in its school district.
For more information visit the NYC Department of Education website.