NEW YORK --
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says school bus companies and union leaders will meet Monday in an effort to resolve the strike.
A mediator will conduct the meeting at Gracie Mansion.
The strike by school bus drivers and aides entered its seventh day on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the bus company owners says the two sides have been meeting "all along," but the sticking point continues to be the Employee Protection Provision, or EPP, which assure that senior bus drivers and matrons will get priority over newcomers.
The city contracts with private bus companies. It says the city must seek competitive bids to save money. Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union wants the new contracts to include job protections for current drivers.
Some buses were running last week because their drivers are not members of Local 1181. The city Department of Education said 2,320 bus routes out of 7,700 were operating.
A decision is expected next week on whether the strike is even legal, after the National Labor Relations Board heard challenges this week. The bus company owners are expected to testify in an effort to get an injunction to stop the strike.
CLICK HERE FOR 7 THINGS TO KNOW DURING THE STRIKE
Summary and links:
The city is taking the following steps for families of students who currently receive yellow bus service:
All students who currently receive yellow bus service may receive a MetroCard. MetroCards should be requested through the school's general office. The DOE has informed the Metropolitan Transit Authority that it may need to accommodate additional riders.
Parents of pre-school and school-age children with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and require transportation from their home directly to their school, as well as parents of general education children in grades K-2, may also request a MetroCard to escort their children to school.
Parents of children who receive busing from their home or are in grades K through 6 and do not live in areas where public transportation between home and school is available may request reimbursement for transportation costs. Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of 55 cents per mile. Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that includes a receipt for provided services. Requests for reimbursements should be made weekly on forms that will be available on the DOE web site, Schools.NYC.gov, and in schools' general offices. Families who plan to drive or use a car service to carpool are encouraged to carpool with their neighbors whenever possible.
In the unfortunate event that students cannot get to school, the Department will be posting materials online for every grade and core subject so that students can continue their learning at home during the strike.
The DOE will continue to update New Yorkers and will post new information on Schools.NYC.gov. Information will also be available at 311.
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