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Letter to the Editor: District 15 Bus Driver Talks Potential Outsourcing

Palatine resident, and District 15 parent and Bus Driver Carol Cochran discusses what she believes will be the impact of outsourcing bus services on the school district and children.

Dear District 15 Parents and Community Members,

The recent and unexpected disclosure that the District 15 school board is taking bids to outsource its drivers and bus aides has left many in our community feeling stressed, upset and even victimized. 

I certainly feel that way. I know many of you do, too.

Our drivers and aides live here, work here and devote their working lives to the students. We know that no private company in the world will ever match the safe and reliable service our employees bring to the children every day. They can't do it. They won't do it. 

Bid proposals submitted by private for-profit companies were received by the District on January 10. Those proposals will be reviewed at the Wednesday, January 16 school board meeting. 

We are asking all concerned citizens, their families, and friends to come to the next District 15 Board meeting at 7 p.m. on January 16, at Sundling Jr. High School (located at 1100 N. Smith St. in Palatine) to show the Board that we care about the children, that we care about our employees, that our unemployment will hurt everyone, and that the best and safest drivers in the world already work right here in District 15.

At this meeting, bus drivers (myself included) and transportation aides will share their stories about their experiences working for private companies. 

For example: I have driven a school bus for nearly 11 years, with almost 7 of those years in our district. Prior to that, I worked with First Student. During my time working there, it was not uncommon for First Student to bus-in drivers from the South side of Chicago to cover routes in my area, which included Long Grove, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Lincolnshire, Deerfield and Highland Park.

This is just one example of the many personal accounts you will hear. At the previous meeting, a board member referred to these stories as "scare tactics". However, how can these stories be termed as such if they are true, actual events?

At the board meeting, you will also hear stories from parents about positive, personal experiences with our dedicated drivers and aides. This is where we need your help.

As representatives of your schools and concerned parents, we urge you to get involved and show your support. Here's how you can help.

1. Attend the board meeting at Sundling Jr. High School. Please share with the Board any and all concerns you have should the outsourcing occur and how it will negatively impact your children and community.

2. Reach out to your friends, neighbors, fellow parents and school community to do the same. 

3. If you cannot attend the meeting in person, please call and/or write to the Board Members with your thoughts and concerns. Here is the link:

http://www.ccsd15.net/pages/CCSD15/Board_of_Education_Group/Meet_Your_Board_of_Education 

4. Sign the petition to the school board and encourage other concerned citizens to sign. Here is the link: 

https://www.change.org/petitions/ccsd15-school-board-do-not-outsource-the-district-15-transportation-department## 

5. Visit our website for more information. www.district15drivers.org 

6. Visit our Facebook page "District 15 Transportation Union" and share our page with friends, neighbors, parents, etc. 

We as a community can come together to prevent our children from becoming yet another horror story that you hear about so often in the media when private companies take on the task of getting your children to and from school. 

Now is the time to get involved. As other school districts have found out the hard way: 
•  Once a community outsources its Transportation Department, it will never get it back. 
•  Once a community outsources its Transportation Department, the problems don’t go away….but the community does lose its ability to locally manage those problems. 

This fight is not over. Our drivers and aides have already made it clear to the school board that nothing is more important to us than our jobs - and that we are willing to work with the board to find cost savings and preserve our department. 

But we can't do it without each of you. Please come to the school board meeting on Wednesday, January 16 at 7 p.m. at Sundling JHS. 

Sincerely, 

Carol Cochran 
Parent, Resident and Bus Driver of District 15

Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are presented as they are originally submitted by our readers. Palatine Patch neither agrees nor disagrees with the opinions presented. 

Richard February 21, 2013 at 05:16 AM
So, what's happening at Palatine, are they still talking or has it been put on the back burner until Spring? Sad to hear District 26 lost Durham to Grand Prairie at Tuesday night's School Board meeting. Somebody at that district is gonna get a raise!!!!!
Richard February 21, 2013 at 05:27 AM
As I said, the Contractor by State statue is supposed to hire any and all drivers of said district when they take over the busing. And they have to honor the pay scale for one year. Palatine drivers wouldn't be displaced unless they choose to be. Plus, working for a contractor, the Training is at a higher standard, Physical Dexterity Tests would be implemented and some of them could become a Professional Federally mandated I.C.C. Bus Driver. It's a win, win situation both for the District Families and Drivers combined.
Sub-Bus March 02, 2013 at 11:32 PM
@Richard if you want to know whats going on with School DIstrict 15 Palatine, things have just Started to HEATED UP!! You can find alot of INTERESTING info on www.district15drivers.org
D B L D March 03, 2013 at 03:58 AM
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN I have tried to follow all that is going on with the Palatine bus drivers and the school board. There seems to be a lot of FALSE OR HALF TRUTH coming from the school board. Their financial numbers for cost savings have been chalenged and proved wrong, their figures for the directors salary come up wrong. What else have they been reporting inaccuratly?? It apears the drivers union has been talking with the BOE for several months and when they came to the negotiating table the BOE stabbed them in the back with a complete revision of the existing contract written by a board member instead of a professional negotiator (not to mention he is leaving) . IT'S HARD TO SEPERATE MYTH FROM FACT when you know you have been lied to so many times by the BOE
D15parentanddriver March 21, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Not to say that I don't love the patch, but I know someone out there questioned that the cadidates Bokor, Babcock, Seiffert, and Ekeberg were officially endorsed, by the Daily Herald. Here you go; http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130320/discuss/703209767/?interstitial=1

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