Friday, 04 December 2009 00:00
As some residents may know, the Manhasset School District has been ordered to restore its former transportation system and rehire the bus drivers who lost their jobs when busing was outsourced to Huntington Coach in 2005. If the system cannot be restored in-house, we must offer comparable jobs to the bus drivers or pay them both backpay and future wages.
Our choices are to restore the former system, which includes obtaining buses and rehiring the former employees or keeping Huntington Coach and rehiring and/or paying the bus drivers anyway. On Dec.15, the taxpayers will be asked whether we want to authorize the purchase of buses as a first step in restoring the former system. While I trust the board of education is trying to do its best, the proposition being put forth on Dec. 15 does not make clear that we are responsible to pay the former employees whether we restore the system in house or not. I attended the board of education meeting on Nov. 19 and there is a lot of uncertainty about the number of former employees entitled to back and front pay and the total amount that the district will have to pay. The district has been trying to resolve this issue for years with the bus drivers’ union, MESPA, without success. While purchasing buses may seem expensive, we simply do not know the potential cost of keeping Huntington Coach and paying the bus drivers also.
A yes vote on Dec. 15 will mean that you want to purchase buses and restore the former system. A no vote will mean that you do not want to purchase buses, but does not necessarily mean that we will save money. Please come to the board of education meeting on Dec. 3 at Manhasset High School and learn more about this important issue to make an informed decision on Dec. 15.