Algonac Community Schools privatizes bus drivers’ jobs

Despite widespread opposition from local residents, the Algonac Community Schools Board of Education voted Thursday to privatize its transportation services, eliminating the jobs of about a dozen local bus drivers.

Every citizen who spoke at Thursday’s meeting testified against the privatization proposal, which passed by a 6-1 margin.

“This is bigger than just bus drivers,” school board member Beth Engel, the only board member to vote against the proposal, said during the meeting, according to the Times Herald. “We have this community that has come out in support of something and I applaud them for it. ... We need to listen to the community.”

But the school board didn’t listen to the community. Instead, the school board outsourced local jobs to Lansing-based Dean Transportation, a for-profit company that has swooped into communities throughout Michigan to take jobs away from school bus drivers.

“You are elected by the community,” citizen Robert Bates said to the school board, the Times Herald reported. “A vote to follow through with this privatization is a detriment to the community. ... I hope that each of you can live with the decision you make.”