Unit 5 Continues Transportation Negotiations | WGLT

Unit 5 Continues Transportation Negotiations

Oct 27, 2016

A bus operated by First Student lines up at dismissal time at Unit Five's Colleen Hoose School
Credit Emma Shores / WGLT

Transportation provider First Student has less than a week to fix the multiple busing issues affecting students in Unit 5 schools. The school board voted Wednesday night to give the company until November 1 to reach an agreement with concessions for the problems, including financial compensation.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said there can't be inconsistency on the definition of late buses between Unit 5 and First Student. 

"I would like to see that our students arrive five minutes before the bell. That would be the target time," said Daniel. "If First Student wants to be on the same page as we are, I would highly recommend it." 

Board Member Joseph Cleary's motion to terminate First Student's contract immediately was turned down, but he understands that other members need more concrete information from the company. Cleary said there are over 100 chronically late students that require additional tutoring and remedial help from the courses they have missed.

"When we are done talking about late students and late buses, I think we have crossed the threshold," said Cleary. 

Multiple board members said they have seen progress since September, but want to have consistency from First Student. Board Member Jim Hayek said there's some hope left.

"There certainly has not been a substantive meeting of the contract provisions so far, but there's hope there will be," said Hayek. 

First Student will also need to guarantee a 20 percent surplus of drivers ready by late November or the contract will end. If Unit 5 terminates the contract, First Student will still provide bus service through the end of June.