Johannesburg-Lewiston Board of Education Votes to Not Privatize Transportation, Ten Jobs Saved

Ten jobs saved tonight when a northern Michigan school board voted not to privatize transportation.

The Johannesburg-Lewiston Board of education unanimously voted to keep the bus drivers they have, and not bring in a private company to cut costs.

The budget passed at the beginning of this school year had a $100,000 structural deficit.

The Board of Education looked for ways to make up that deficit, including cutting ten bus drivers and privatizing transportation.

Tonight, those ten jobs were saved, and many are relieved. 

“It has been an extremely emotional topic here in the community.”

The only emotion after the board voted unanimously to not privatize the school’s transportation?

“I’m happy, I really am happy because it’s been a stressful few months because we didn’t know what was going to happen with our job or whatever so we’re all happy,” explained bus driver and MEA Union President, Autumn Allen.

Ten jobs are saved, but it comes at a price. 

“Now fortunately, our drivers stepped up and offered some concessions and provided us with some savings in the future so it’s not necessary to privatize,” said Superintendent Rick Holt. 

“We are doing a 2.2%  pay decrease, and then we also gave up some of our medical,” explained Allen.

The superintendent says the decision was made with the future in mind. 

“Now the $100,000 deficit that we started this year with, we’ve widdled that down to about $23,000, i’m confident were going to be able to end the year if not even, in the black.

A win for both the school, and those who get the students there everyday. 

“Our local folks here get to keep their jobs, and we get to restructure financially the way that we need to to go forward.”

The superintendent says with declining enrollment, they will likely have to continue to restructure and retool their budget to operate efficiently in the future.