Potential bus strike forces students to scramble for rides to school


By Julia Rosier ’18

Superintendent Colleen Palmer sent an email to parents on Tuesday, April 25 warning students and parents of a potential bus strike by the school bus company, Dattco, on Thursday April 27. In her email, Palmer stated that if the issue does not reach an agreement by midnight Wednesday, April 26, there will be no regular bus transportation to and from school for the following day.

With urging from the District and Dattco, the Federal Mediator working with this labor issue reached out to the drivers’ union to ask the union leadership to encourage its members to come to work tomorrow,” Palmer said.

Palmer stated that at midnight on Wednesday, April 26, the contract extention of Dattco with its drivers expires, and the drivers have the option of striking without facing a penalty. Negotiations between the drivers’ union and Dattco are set to continue on May 1. In the event of a bus strike, the Westport Public Schools will still provide transportation to special education students who are currently have access to specialized transportation.

“I ask you to arrange transportation to get your children to and from school, if at all possible,” Palmer said in her email. “I urge you to consider forming car pools during this critical period.”

Many students are finding themselves in tough situations due to the strike, like Rachel Wolfe ’18 who takes the bus to and from school each day. “This bus strike would affect me because I would be impacting my mom’s working schedule and would have to find my own way home after school,” Wolfe said.

Anna Uman ’19 is in a similar situation to Wolfe. “Luckily my mom will give me a ride but this bus strike would affect how I get to school,” Uman said.

This is not the first bus strike that the Westport Public Schools has faced. On Oct. 12, 2012, Dattco drivers went on strike due to a dispute in salaries.

In an updated email sent by Palmer this afternoon, all after school programs will be taking place as normally scheduled. An additional email will be sent out by Palmer April 27 at 6:30 a.m. with another update of the transportation plan.


Photo used under the Creative Commons License