Approximately 9,000 Brockton students may not have a ride to school Monday, if bus drivers strike in response to stalled negotiations with the district’s contracted bus company, the school district’s superintendent said.
The superintendent’s office will tell parents of Brockton students by phone this weekend if buses will run their normal schedules Monday, Superintendent Kathleen Smith said in a statement posted to the school system’s website. If a strike occurs, schools will remain open and students will need to find a different means of transportation to class.
In the statement, Smith did not outline any information about why contract negotiations between the busing services contractor, First Student Inc., and the bus drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 653, were stalled.
First Student and Teamsters 653 did not return calls for comment by the Globe.
First Student is required by contract to provide transportation services through June 30, 2015, according to Smith’s statement.
“I remain optimistic that First Student and Teamsters Local 653 will be able to settle their contract, but I feel it is important to give parents as much information as possible so that they can plan accordingly,” Smith said.
The statement added that if the strike occurs, schools will allow students to enter early, with Brockton High opening doors at 6 a.m. and all middle, K-8, and elementary schools opening at 7 a.m.
Jocelyn Meek, a spokeswoman for the superintendent’s office, said that last year’s snow delays gave the schools some experience in deploying additional staff to open the city’s 24 schools early. She said students who come to school early will be supervised, given a free breakfast, and occupied by some activity.
Meek said the district is unsure how much money a strike could cost, and that the school system does not possess a large budget for unusual financial circumstances.
“Every penny we have we try to put toward learning and teaching, so anything that takes away from that is considered a detriment,” she said. “Again, we’ve got our fingers crossed. The bus drivers are also a really important part of these kids’ lives. They’re part of our team . . . we consider them part of our family.”
Although some staff members will be present after school, Meek said parents should do their best to pick students up at their regularly scheduled dismissal time.