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North Hills School District Says Parents Responsible For Children's Transportation Should Bus Drivers Strike

ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- Thousands of students in the North Hills School District are on the verge of not having a ride to school as a bus driver strike looms closer and closer.

The North Hills School District says negotiations are ongoing; however, the administration is planning for transportation services to be unavailable for students beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

This includes students who attend North Hills schools, as well as private and parochial school students serviced by North Hills drivers.

District administration says schools will remain open for in-person instruction should there be a strike.

A letter sent home to families on Tuesday says all district parents and guardians will be responsible for their children's transportation while the strike is going on.

The letter says, "We ask that everyone please allow for extra time and please be patient. While we have done all we can to plan and prepare, heavy traffic at drop off and pick up is expected. Carpooling is strongly encouraged. Click here to see a map of pick-up and drop-off locations.

"The expectation is that students attend school in person. However, we are offering a live stream option for students who do not have transportation. Students who cannot attend in person because they do not have transportation can attend live via Zoom. This is only if a strike occurs and while the district is without transportation.

Students attending remotely must attend live and should follow their typical daily schedule. Lessons will not be recorded nor posted in Google Classroom for playback. Students must attend classes live."

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Attendance will be recorded by the teacher, just as it is on a typical school day. Students must be in class in person or live on Zoom to be counted as present.

On Monday, after spending more than two years at the bargaining table, bus drivers and monitors who work for ABC Transit voted 31-6 to reject the contract and authorize a strike.

The union says that it is planning on picketing outside the ABC Transit garage on Hahn Road as soon as Tuesday, but those plans are still being worked out.

They have released this statement on current negotiations.

"Teamsters Local 249, representing drivers and monitors at the ABC Transit Inc. North Hills location, gave official notice Monday evening to ABC Transit of their authorization to strike, after a vote by employees. ABC Transit is the North Hills School District's transportation contractor and its drivers and monitors are not district employees. As such, the district has not been involved in contract negotiations in any way.

"ABC Transit believes the current proposal provided to Teamsters Local 249 will provide fair wages and working conditions for North Hills drivers and monitors, along with meeting expectations for fiscal responsibility in light of the present economy. ABC Transit's management and Teamsters Local 249 had an integral part in developing the current proposal since the summer of 2019. ABC Transit has made sincere efforts over the last two years to try reach a settlement.

"ABC Transit will be meeting with Teamsters Local 249 and a Federal Mediator today in hopes to avoid a potential strike. Additional information on negotiations will be forwarded as necessary."

For some parents like Kimberly Kennedy, finding a new ride to school for her three kids would not be easy. She and her husband both work full-time and share one car to get to work.

"My senior said she can get rides with her friends. She doesn't know how long that will last," Kennedy said.

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