UPDATE: Lakota avoids bus drivers strike, students will have transportation today

UPDATE @ 8:12 a.m.

A last minute bus strike in the Lakota Schools was averted just as quickly at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Buses were running as usual after parents were alerted at 5 a.m. by the school district the bus drivers would be on duty, according to spokeswoman Lauren Boettcher.

She said as of around 7:30 a.m. the district wasn’t experiencing any problems, but said they are prepared in case parents did not get the notification.


UPDATE @ 6:36 a.m.

Lakota bus drivers and the school’s transportation provider avoided the beginning of a strike on Tuesday morning, so students will have normal transportation to school, officials said.

“Overnight, an agreement was reached between Petermann Transportation and its drivers. The strike has been avoided,” the district said in a statement.

“Transportation for any students who utilize Lakota busing will begin this morning, with bus drivers agreeing to return to work.”

UPDATE @ 10:15 p.m.

Lakota schools will not have bus service on Tuesday morning, after the drivers could not reach an agreement with the bus provider, the school district said.

“This evening, Lakota Local Schools was notified that its contracted bus provider, Petermann Transportation, could not reach an agreement in contract negotiations with its drivers. The bus drivers have chosen to strike, effective immediately,” Lakota wrote in a message to families.

“This means that beginning the morning of Tuesday, April 16, busing will not be available to any students who utilize Lakota school transportation until the drivers return to work. This includes special education preschoolers and high-schoolers, as well as parochial school students.”

Students will not be marked tardy or absent if they can’t find transportation, the district said. It is also asking families to carpool and be patient during drop off and pick-up times.

"We are extremely disappointed with this outcome and the impact it will have on our students," said Lakota Chief Operations Officer Chris Passarge.

"We have been reassured throughout this process that negotiations were ongoing and that we shouldn’t expect any sort of disruption to our transportation services. After receiving word that an agreement had been reached between Petermann and the bus drivers’ union leadership over the weekend, this is an unexpected and unfortunate turn of events."

Representatives from Petermann and the bus drivers’ union will continue to meet in an effort to reach an agreement, Lakota said.

INITIAL REPORT, 9:39 p.m. 

Lakota Local Schools bus drivers could strike as early as Tuesday morning over a contract disagreement between the bus drivers’ union and their employer, Petermann Transportation, the district’s chief operations officer said in a statement sent to parents Monday.

The union was to vote Monday night, he said.

If the union decides to strike, bus service for the district would be suspended.

“We understand that this will put an enormous burden on our parents who rely on busing for their children,” COO Chris Passarge said in his statement.

Lakota Local Schools is the largest suburban public school district in southwest Ohio.

It's also the eighth largest school district in the state, and the largest of all 10 public school districts in Butler County. The district employs about 1,700 teachers and support staff.

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