September 8, 2023
Dear Coventry Families,
Unfortunately, at this time I do not have any “new” news to share with you regarding the bus drivers strike. We will continue into next week with the same plan as we had this week.
I wanted to be sure to communicate to our families how grateful we are for your support and cooperation as we navigated through this week. We heard from many who shared positive words of encouragement and appreciation. Thank you for this - it means a lot.
I also thought it might be helpful to provide answers to some frequently asked
Q: What are the district’s contractual obligations with M&J Bus Inc. during the strike?
A: The district is only responsible to pay for services provided. As such, we will not be paying M&J Bus Inc. during the strike when transportation is not being provided.
Q: Why isn’t the district securing services from another bus company?
A: We have contacted several other companies. Some are not interested at all, and for the one that was, they stated that executing a transfer of services could take a significant amount of time. Regardless, the district is actively exploring other possibilities to provide transportation for our students.
Q: How long will the strike last?
A: Unfortunately, we do not know. It is up to M&J Bus Inc. and the Teamsters representing the bus drivers to come to an agreement.
Q: When is the district’s contract up with M&J Bus Inc.?
A: The contract ends in June 2024. As is the usual practice, the district will begin the Request For Proposals (RFP) process this fall.
Q: Why doesn’t the district get involved and help end the strike?
A: The District is not a party to the contract between the bus drivers and M&J Bus Inc. Therefore, we have no legal role in the negotiations. However, as superintendent, I communicated with both parties and encouraged them to meet to continue their discussions. As such, a meeting took place today. As I am made aware of developments, I will be sure to keep families informed.
Q: What can I do as a parent to help?
A: Continued patience and cooperation is all we could ask for and we thank you for all that you do to support the district.
Coventry is such a strong community. I will state again how much we value our partnership with parents and caregivers, and we deeply regret that a dispute between M&J Bus Inc. and the Teamsters has interrupted our ability to provide transportation for our students. Please know, we are doing all we can to promptly restore reliable transportation for our students and families.
If you have any questions about the drop-off/pick up procedures at your child’s school, please contact that school directly. If you have any questions about the information contained in this email, please contact my office.
David J. Petrone, Ed.D.
Coventry Public Schools
1700 Main Street
Coventry, CT 06238
860-742-7317 ext 2