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IPS, bus drivers union sign agreement that includes bonuses, transition assistance for employees

Deal avoids disruption to IPS buses
Posted: 7:28 AM, Mar 09, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-09 07:28:57-04
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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools announced the school district and a union that represents bus drivers and attendants reached an agreement that the district said will prevent disruption to school bus service for the rest of the school year and provide bonuses and transition assistance to transportation employees whose jobs are in question.

IPS and the American Federation of State, County and Muncipal Employees (AFSCME) signed a memorandum of understanding that will be given to the IPS Board of School Commissioners Monday to be signed and ratified.

According to a news release from IPS, the memorandum of understanding includes bonuses and transition assistance for IPS transportation employees whose contract with the district ends in June.

“AFSCME realizes the difficulty of this transition for all affected,” AFSCME director of communications Ron Richmond said. “We appreciate the drivers and attendants who have dedicated many years of service to this community and thank them for their patience as we finalized this agreement.”

The IPS Board of School Commissioners voted in late January to approve a contract with First Student Transportation. The move eliminated the school district's transportation department and ended a contract with Durham School Services.

Beginning July 1, all 305 of IPS' bus routes will be operated by First Student, which the school district said would save $7 million.

The situation escalated Jan. 28 when nearly 100 school bus drivers and attendants called in sick and about 18,000 students, more than half the district, missed school.

“We are excited to resume reliable transportation service for the district,” IPS superintendent Aleesia Johnson said. “While we acknowledge that the majority of our drivers reported to work, it was a smaller percentage who did not that caused a major disruption to bus service for thousands of our students. However, this agreement should provide relief to our families who were left to wonder how to transport their students to and from school during our disruption in service. We appreciate their patience while IPS and AFSCME union leadership worked through the logistics.”

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