Deputy mayor: school bus strike ‘likely’ this week

metro file

Last week’s threats of a school bus strike were revived today, as Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson tweeted this morning that parents should anticipate a school bus strike this week as a result of the city’s ongoing battle with the union over a request for bids on yellow bus contracts for routes for special education students.

The Department of Education has contracts for 7,700 bus routes that serve 152,000 students. The request for new bids covers approximately 1,100 routes and 22,500 students from kindergarten through 12th grade who have disabilities and require special transportation, but all 7,700 routes would be affected by a system-wide strike.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that in addition to the MetroCards and reimbursements previously promised to parents, the city will deploy additional transit officers, school safety officers, and crossing guards to manage the influx of students and parents taking public transit or walking.

The union wants an Employee Protection Provision (EPP) in the bids guaranteeing that current drivers will retain their jobs; the city said they are legally unable to do that based on a Court of Appeals ruling regarding a recent request for bids on pre-kindergarten bus routes.

One of the issues the union has brought up is concern that new bus drivers won’t have proper training to work with special needs students.

Marge Feinberg at the Department of Education specified that the bids issued maintain the central requirements for training and safety standards, including a drug test, physical performance test, and training that includes instruction on how to operate buses with wheelchair lifts.

“EPPs have nothing to do with safety and training and anything the union says otherwise is false,” Feinberg said in an e-mail.

She also reiterated that the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals, has already ruled that it would be illegal for the city to include an EPP in its bids.


Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.


Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…


LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.


Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…


Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…


If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…


Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.


Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.


Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…


World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.


The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…


Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.


Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…