Lakota Local Schools preparing for possible bus driver strike

Contract negotiations and the possibility of a strike puts the district in an awkward position.
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT
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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - School bus drivers for one of the Tri-State’s largest school districts may soon go on strike, leaving several thousand kids without a way to school.

Lakota Local Schools District has already sent a notification to parents warning them of the potential strike that could begin on Friday if Petermann LLP and the drivers union cannot come to an agreement.

The letter sent to parents notified them of the potential that comes with a strike as it would not only impact transportation to and from school, but also athletics.

While the district has a contract with Petermann to provide services for students, they are put in a difficult situation because they do not own the buses or hire the drivers.

“We are trying to stay out of that [negotiations], however, we do have a stake in this. We want our bus drivers to be Lakota bus drivers. Of course, we appreciate them, but we also appreciate Petermann, so we’re trying to make sure we remain neutral,” Interim Lakota Local Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli told FOX19 NOW.

The district says Petermann has told them accountability and safety are the two points of contention right now between the union and bus company. If the drivers decide to strike, it will impact several thousand students.

“Many of our students ride with their parents, but it will still affect a very large number of students. If there is anyone that decides they do not want to walk out, those drivers would be used, first of all, for our students with disabilities who receive transportation and also our preschool,” Dr. Lolli said.

The district says they are only able to convey what Petermann Bus has told them about the negotiations.

One union driver says money is still very much part of the negotiation as well.

FOX19 NOW reached out to the bus company for comment, but has not heard back.

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