Ypsilanti joins busing consolidation plan

YPSILANTI, Mich. - Ypsilanti Public Schools will join a countywide consolidated transportation plan headed by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, the Ypsilanti Citizen reported. The move is expected to reduce transportation costs by about 35 percent, or $1.25 million, according to the Citizen.

Bus drivers and mechanics who now work for Ypsilanti might continue as employees of the WISD, but jobs are not guaranteed, the report said. Wages would be reduced by up to 17 percent and employees would pay 30 percent of their health care premium costs, the Citizen reported. Currently they contribute nothing.

Hourly wages would move from $18.13 to $14.95 an hour for bus drivers, from $23.29 to $21 for mechanics and from $12.92 to $11.46 for bus aides, according to the Citizen.

"We have an obligation on the board to get to a balanced budget, and by my last reckoning that meant finding somewhere in our budget — finding $6 million," said school board President David Bates before the 5-2 vote, the Citizen reported. "If we don't make this a part of the plan, I don't see how we're not going to be making worse cuts of a different nature in some other place."

"The money you sit there and spend on this proposal, you could save money by negotiating with us and all the other employees," said Craig Lambert, a bus driver for the district, the Citizen reported.

Ypsilanti Citizen, "Ypsilanti Schools accept transportation consolidation," June 8, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Pinckney joins regional bus plan," March 22, 2010