LSD Votes to Privatize Buses

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Sixty bus drivers and other Lansing School District transportation employees are out of a job as the school board tries to cut around $6 million from its budget.

The district will join the Ingham Intermediate School District's transportation consortium, said school board president Peter Spadafore, saving the district $760,000 annually and $1.4 million in one-time cash.

The board tabled bus privatization in February, saying it didn't have enough information to make a decision, Spadafore said.

The laid-off drivers can still apply for jobs with Dean, Spadafore said.

The decision provides the least amount of disruption, Spadafore said. No children will lose busing as a result of the decision.

AFSCME Council 25 representative Dan Hamilton says many of the employees he represents are downhearted and feel beaten up. He says many of them felt set up for failure with a fleet that's breaking down and a lack of overall education funding.

Privatization ultimately ends up costing the district more in the long run, he said.

The district also approved layoffs for as many as five administrators, 20 instructional staffers, 45 instructional support workers and 25 others, Spadafore said.

It's all in an effort to trim $6 million from the district's budget by June 30. Bus privatization and layoffs are among 16 items the district is hoping to cut. Even if all those cuts are approved, Spadafore said, the district will still have to find $800,000 to balance its budget.

The district hopes to approve the budget at its meeting on Jun. 19.

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