UPDATE @ 6:20 p.m. (April 20): Bus drivers for Dayton Public Schools have voted to accept a new tentative agreement this afternoon. The school board is set to meet this evening to ratify the agreement.
UPDATE @ 8:30 p.m. (April 19): Representatives of the two sides — Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 627 and the Dayton school board — Friday and again today to arrive at a new tentative agreement.
The full membership of the drivers union will vote Monday. The results are expected to be announced Monday night.
The union on Thursday voted to reject the terms of a previous tentative agreement.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE @ 10:38 p.m. (April 17): Negotiations this afternoon between Dayton Public Schools officials and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 627 ended with no deal reached.
Drivers voted down a tentative agreement Thursday night.
A possible bus driver strike could start Tuesday if no deal is reached.
UPDATE @ 10:30 p.m. (April 16): Dayton school bus drivers tonight rejected the latest contract proposal from the school board, meaning transportation for 12,000 students is still in doubt starting Tuesday.
Jim Tackett, field representative for the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, said there was “some movement” in the latest offer from Dayton Public Schools, but senior driver Glen Miller said it wasn’t enough.
“We feel they offered us basically the same thing, and because of that, we have to give them the same answer,” Miller said. “The administration knows that we are a significant player in the school system and we need to be compensated and looked at seriously.”
New Dayton bus drivers start at $13.05 per hour, compared with $16.40 in Kettering schools, $17.74 in Huber Heights and $17.82 in Mad River schools.
Representatives of OAPSE Local 627 said the contract was rejected overwhelmingly, but would not discuss vote totals nor what details were the sticking points.
Dayton schools Superintendent Lori Ward said tonight the parties were in contact after the latest vote, and agreed to talk again Friday afternoon.
“We are going to continue to negotiate,” Ward said. “We’re going to work diligently to get to a resolution.”
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.
District officials have not announced contingency plans in the event of a strike. Spokeswoman Jill Moberley said about 55 percent of district students ride a school bus to school.
UPDATE @ 8:27 p.m. (April 16): Dayton bus drivers voted tonight to reject the tentative agreement with the school district, leaving open the possibility of a strike next Tuesday.
UPDATE @ 12:47 p.m. (April 16): Parents are speaking out about a tentative contract reached between the Dayton school board and the bus drivers union.
Parents said they hope the new contract will be voted on and accepted this evening.
Our reporters are also working to talk to the school board and union about when and where that vote will take place.
UPDATE @ 7:48 p.m. (April 15): Dayton's school board reached a tentative contract agreement tonight with its bus drivers union, possibly averting a strike that had been set for next Tuesday.
Representatives of the school board and Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 627 met for seven hours Monday and then met again today to reach mutual agreement on remaining issues.
Union membership will vote on the contract Thursday.
The school board has meetings scheduled Thursday and Friday, and could ratify the deal quickly, according to district spokeswoman Jill Moberley.
Almost 12,000 students ride Dayton school buses every day to 60 public, charter, Catholic and private schools. Those buses are driven by 160 members of Local 627. Dayton school bus drivers start at $13.08 an hour, which is below several area school districts.
Board President Robert Walker said this week the district was optimistic a deal could be reached.
OAPSE field representative Jim Tackett said this week the strike is still set, but that it was hoped a contract could be reached before then.
The terms of the tentative accord have not been disclosed.
UPDATE @ 10:10 p.m. (April 9): Bus drivers for Dayton Public Schools could go on strike as early as April 21 as members of the drivers' union agreed Thursday night to file a 10-day strike notice after rejecting the school district's latest contract offer.
Those 160 drivers transport 11,899 students daily — including students in all 28 DPS schools, seven Archdiocesan Catholic schools and 25 charter and private schools, according education officials. A late-April strike would land in the middle of a state testing window for thousands of students, including third-graders who must pass the state reading test to advance to fourth grade.
Senior driver Glen Miller said members of OAPSE Local 627 overwhelmingly rejected the district’s offer. He said the $13.05 an hour that beginning DPS drivers make is too low, and a proposed 2 percent raise would have been more than erased by increased benefit costs.
Ohio Association of Public School Employees officials said beginning drivers in Trotwood and West Carrollton make more than $15 an hour, and in Huber Heights they start at $17. Union officials also said they are fighting for four paid training days to keep new drivers up to date.
“We have sometimes 70 children behind us, and our job is to get them to school safely, without any kind of tragedy,” Miller said, noting his colleagues may “need to go on strike to prove a point, to say we are valuable.”
Jim Tackett, field representative for OAPSE, said the strike is planned but not yet a sure thing.
“We are very open to dialogue. We hope that management calls us, and that we could come to an agreement,” Tackett said.
District officials did not answer questions Thursday about whether they have made contingency plans or if they would close schools in the event of a strike. Spokeswoman Jill Moberley said about 55 percent of district students ride a school bus to school.
FIRST REPORT (March 17)
A federal mediator has been brought into the negotiations involving Dayton Public Schools and its bus drivers in an effort to avoid a possible strike.
Several things have to happen before a strike vote would be taken, and the key thing is that the school district would have to present a final last offer to the bus drivers.
That has not happened, said Jim Tackett, a union representative for Local 627, which has approximately 160 members. Several of those members gathered at a union hall at Jett and Alwildy avenues to hear the latest on the contract negotiations.
The two sides and the mediator will meet Thursday at the district offices in downtown Dayton, said Tackett, who noted, “we’re at impasse.”
The union will not oppose a last offer, he said, but “we also will not accept something that is not reasonable.”
Tackett said a strike is an option, but noted, “that’s the last thing we want. The membership is here for the children.”
Tackett declined to discuss the sticking points in the negotiations because the talks are ongoing.
A request for comment was left with a DPS spokesperson.