Will Dayton Public Schools bus drivers strike? What we know now

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

DPS bus drivers intend to go on strike in April

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton Public Schools leaders said they will immediately begin work on alternate student transportation plans after the union representing bus drivers filed a notice of their intent to strike April 10.

A district news release issued Wednesday afternoon said the two sides had reached “an ultimate impasse in their negotiations,” and bus drivers provided notice of their intent to strike.

The Dayton Daily News breaks down what it means for you.

When would the strike start?

The strike would start after students return from spring break and would directly coincide with the start of state-required student testing.

“It appears that the strike has been intentionally scheduled at a time to cause the district the most harm due to student testing,” the district said in its release. “In addition, the drivers have not explained to the board’s negotiating team what specific issues are actually causing the impasse.”

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How will students get to school?

“To ensure that transportation services for students are not disrupted as a result of any strike, the board will immediately prepare a strike plan, including contracting with outside busing providers and providing information to parents about what to expect,” the Dayton Public Schools’ release said.

Why is this happening?

The district’s release explained that bus drivers in negotiations from previous years had publicly said the board of education’s salary proposals “demonstrated a lack of respect for the hard work they perform.”

In December, Titus Morrow, president of Dayton’s bus drivers union, addressed the school board with complaints about the district’s discipline process, communication with principals, and about drivers being “belittled” by administrators.

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How long have negotiations been underway?

DPS and the 145-member bus drivers’ union, Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 627, have negotiated for nearly nine months without agreement on a new contract. In the bus driver talks, the two negotiation teams began work at the end of June when the contract expired. The sides have met multiple times since, and negotiators sought additional assistance from federal mediators for the last three sessions.

The union has worked under terms of the contract that expired last summer. That deal called for new drivers to start at $13.85 per hour, while some neighboring districts such as Huber Heights and Mad River start at more than $18 per hour.

Has this happened before?

Yes. In 2015, the Dayton Public Schools board and bus drivers union voted on a new set of proposed contract terms in an effort to avoid a strike set. "We commend our drivers for their acceptance of this multiple-year contract that will allow us to focus on the business of educating our children; their actions today will provide continued service to our children to help ensure they are in school and learning," Dayton Board of Education President Robert Walker said, when the agreement was reached.

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