Bus drivers stay on in Adrian

ADRIAN, Mich. - Adrian Public Schools students will see familiar faces behind the wheel of most school buses this year, as half of the bus drivers formerly employed by the district accepted jobs with First Student, the district's new bus service provider, according to The (Adrian) Daily Telegram.

Among them is Sue White, a former bus driver who is now the First Student contract manager in Adrian.

"There's not going to be a lot of new faces for the community,"

White told The Telegram. Fourteen of the 19 routes operated by the district will have drivers who worked for the district a year ago.

Privatizing the bus service was a controversial issue for the district in the spring of 2009, The Telegram reported. As school employees, the drivers were members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 547. White told The Telegram that she didn't know if the drivers will choose to unionize as First Student employees, and a union business manager was unavailable for comment.

White told The Telegram that First Student is using "Child Check-Mate," a system of ensuring that no child is forgotten on buses, and also plans to install global positioning systems in all vehicles. That will help the company determine if, for example, buses are idling for extended periods or are speeding.

The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, "Adrian bus drivers prepare for school year," Aug. 21, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Privatization Survey Shows Gains in Support Service Contracting," Sept. 7, 2009