All bids for bus transportation for the new school year have been rejected by the Peekskill Board of Education. The district will seek new bids and hopes to award a contract as soon as the board’s next meeting, July 3.
The board had been poised to award a three-year contract Tuesday night, June 19, to the current contractor, Mile Square Transportation, according to its agenda (item N4), but instead voted to negotiate an extension of the existing contract through the summer.
The rejection prompted questions by bus drivers, monitors and Mile Square officials about jobs and the bidding process during a hearing of citizens near the end of the meeting.
“The board had concerns and decided we needed to rebid,” board President Joseph Urbanowicz told speakers who questioned why a contract was not awarded beyond this summer. “That’s all I can say.”
“We have legal reasons that we can’t discuss in public,” Superintendent of Schools James Willis said.
The rejection followed an executive session – closed to the public – midway through the board meeting.
Robin Morales, a Mile Square driver for 10 years, said the livelihoods of about 100 people were on the line and noted that students find the consistent presence of familiar drivers and monitors to be comforting.
Mile Square shop steward Ray Griffin framed his concerns in four words: “Do we have jobs?”
“Our drivers need to know” about their job status come September, said Harry Rodriguez, owner of Mile Square, in urging a swift resolution of the contract issue.
Attorney Paul W. Meyer Jr., assistant secretary for Mile Square, questioned whether the contract process was being conducted properly.
Earlier in the meeting, during the initial hearing of citizens, parent Katie Schmidt Fedor urged the board to ensure consistency and high standards for bus drivers and monitors. “Parents want kids to feel safe and secure on the bus,” she said.