This is what PIST thinks about the chartered coach companies, hired under the provisions of Cuomo's Nov. 7 Executive Order (http://www.governor.ny.gov/executiveorder/65):
Has any training and screening been done to qualify these bus drivers to work with children?
If the bus goes away with kids inside, no one will notice because those buses have dark windows, are not yellow, and are expected to zoom down the highway across state lines.
What supervision is being provided? In case there is a shortage of school bus escorts, we suggest that the DOE employ laid-off school aides from AFSCME DC 37, who are fingerprinted and experienced.
Aren't coach buses the ones that had the big accidents last year coming from casinos? Are the drivers working other routes at night? Are they getting union scale and benefits so they don't have to? Who is representing the drivers?
We are glad the DOE saw fit to make a plan for students whose schools were damaged, but fear these students are being thrown into random situations in school and on the bus.
As with other decisions made by the city during this crisis, we have to wonder about the rush to get them back to school. Was it based on concern for education, or just for attendance money?
-Many of us had children in unheated schools during the Nor'easter.
-Many received incorrect information in the last two weeks--or no information at all, even when calling Office of Pupil Transportation repeatedly--about bus routes or Metrocards; we were on our own to transport our children and ourselves.
-Who is checking whether the doubled up schools even have enough space, resources and personnel to provide a stable, normal school experience?
Parents to Improve School Transportation will continue to insist that, the schools most affected by Sandy deserve the safest, most child-friendly buses and drivers, and screened, trained monitors--even on general education routes. The government must take responsibility for finding and funding yellow vehicles that meet the standards for school busing for students with and without disabilities.