Bus drivers’ counter-proposal on table for consideration

ALMONT — Almont school bus drivers will find out on Thursday, May 30, if they can keep their jobs as members of the Almont Education Support Personnel Association (AESPA).

At 7 p.m. tomorrow, the Almont Board of Education will vote on a proposal from Dean Transportation of Lansing to provide school bus services for a period of five years.

The Board had planned to vote on the matter at their May 20 meeting, but opted to postpone a decision until AESPA members had one last opportunity to negotiate a deal with the district.

Based on Dean’s proposal, the district could save about $100,000 during the second year of the contract.

According to school officials, Dean’s proposal would allow current drivers to retain their positions at equal or greater pay and with benefits, should they choose to make the transition.

Many bus drivers have expressed opposition to the proposed outsourcing of their jobs; saying they will sacrifice at least some of their retirement benefits, while relinquishing local control.

On May 20, AESPA representative Marty Zmiejko convinced a majority of board members to table the vote.

Zmiejko said the current drivers were willing to negotiate a counter-proposal that would immediately save the district about $109,000.

Contacted on Tuesday morning, Zmiejko said a counter-offer has been presented to the school board for its consideration.

“We submitted a proposal to administration last week that involved significant wage concessions,” said Zmiejko. “Beyond that, I’m not at liberty to give details.”