Dayton bus drivers reach tentative agreement again with district

Dayton’s school bus drivers will vote Monday on a new set of proposed contract terms, in an effort to avoid a strike currently set for Tuesday.

Representatives of the two sides — Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 627 and the Dayton school board — met Friday and Sunday, arriving at a new tentative agreement. The full membership of the drivers union voted to reject the terms of the previous tentative agreement on Thursday.

Results of the drivers’ vote are expected to be announced Monday evening.

Almost 12,000 students ride Dayton school buses every day to 60 local public, charter, Catholic and private schools. Those buses are driven by 160 members of OAPSE Local 627, who are paid less than drivers in surrounding school districts.

School board president Robert Walker and superintendent Lori Ward have said they will keep working toward a deal. They have not announced any contingency plans if a strike were to take place.

Many of the bused students come from families that don’t have transportation of their own. Some of the students live as much as five miles from their schools, so walking isn’t realistic for many.

The bus drivers’ contract expired in April 2014, and the sides have been in negotiations since June, with a federal mediator getting involved this year.

The sides reached impasse this spring. On April 9, the drivers rejected a contract offer from Dayton’s school board and voted in favor of filing a strike notice, with the strike planned for Tuesday.

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