Extension of School Bus Drivers Grant Program
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
Statement of Basis and Purpose
During the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, the Department of Small Business Services (DSBS) administered a grant program to support the employment of experienced school bus workers who have been impacted by changes in the Department of Education’s (DOE) contracts for school bus transportation. Pursuant to the authority vested in DSBS by New York City Charter § 1301, DSBS is proposing a rule that would continue the grant program for the 2016-17 school year.
Since 1979, following a school bus strike, DOE’s school bus contracts included employee protection provisions (EPPs) requiring school transportation contractors, among other things, to give priority in hiring to employees who became unemployed because of their employers’ loss of DOE bus contract work and to pay such employees the same wages and benefits they had received prior to becoming unemployed.
Following the 2011 decision by the New York State Court of Appeals in L&M Bus Corp., et al., v. the New York City Department of Education, et al. (L&M), DOE did not include EPPs or similar provisions in solicitations for its school bus contracts. After the issuance of the first such post-L&M solicitation, there was a school bus strike in January and February of 2013.
DSBS’s grant program, created by Local Law 44 of 2014, was designed to encourage school bus contractors providing transportation services to DOE to maintain the wages and benefits of those employees who had prior experience in the industry. The 2014-15 and 2015-16 grant programs successfully supported the employment of approximately 1200 school bus workers. This proposed rule continues the school bus employee grant program for the 2016-17 school year.