Monroe partner schools

Faced with a shortage of bus drivers, Monroe Public Schools have partnered with a Michigan-based company to identify potential candidates.

Michigan Educational Transportation Services, Inc. (METS) won a three-year contract to help provide student transportation services for the county’s largest school district.

Approved at a board meeting last week, the contract began July 1 and ends June 30, 2024.

Under the agreement, METS will provide human resource based transportation services as needed, including bus drivers, bus helpers and some transportation staff.

These positions will be METS employees and considered contract employees using buses, equipment and facilities that will remain the property of MPS.

District officials said school districts across the country are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers and the district has asked for help to staff its transport fleet.

“The district is continually engaged in the process of assessing the evolving needs of the district, seeking new staff as needed and ensuring that all positions are staffed with the highest quality candidates,” said the District Manager. superintendent. says Julie Everly.

MPS currently employs 17 full-time drivers and 2 backup drivers. According to a district statement, MPS hopes its partnership with METS will help increase that number to 31 drivers for scheduled trips next year, as well as additional drivers needed to bus students with special needs.

Executive director of operations Jerry Oley said the district has spent thousands of dollars on recruiting efforts.

“Our ability to get candidates to come forward has been almost nil,” he added.

Oley said he spoke with potential contractors, many of whom seemed reluctant to offer information on what exactly they could provide. Two companies responded to the district’s tender: METS and Trinity Transportation.

“Some of the contractors were a little shy about telling us what they were willing to do for us,” Oley said. “Two companies … said to give us a chance. The longer you wait, the less chance you have as a district to be successful. I have to start this tomorrow.

Chad Brown, vice president of sales and marketing for METS, said his company was already working to identify possible drivers.

METS works with about 50 other school districts, providing a single driver in some districts and up to 50 in others.

His contract with MPS will be among his five largest school districts, comparable to his work with Jackson Public Schools, Brown said.

“We have a team of people who are already working on identifying candidates,” he said. “… We (will help) the district to fill the vacancies. No one is moved. We are not moving anyone from a (district) to METS.

Brown said the basis of the contract is channeled into recruiting and employment services. Because the company is not required to contribute to the state education employee pension system, it provides a more profitable opportunity for the district, he said.

“The deal pays off – if I can’t find a candidate, it doesn’t cost the district anything,” Brown said.

Under the agreement, bus drivers will be paid by METS on a scale commensurate with their experience, ranging from $ 20 to $ 24 per hour for drivers with regularly affected bus routes.

New METS drivers will also be eligible for a login bonus, with $ 250 paid after three months of service and an additional $ 250 paid after six months.

There is also a Perfect Attendance Allowance of $ 500, of which $ 100 is awarded during quarterly measurement periods, and an additional $ 100 reward for individuals with Perfect Attendance in at least three of those periods.

New drivers can also receive a referral bonus of $ 100 for each new driver they recommend for a position.

These fees are paid by METS.

According to the agreement, MPS will continue to allocate routes and provide training to those who work as bus drivers in the district, including those who remain employed as MPS drivers in the district as well as contract drivers of the METS. .

METS ‘fees for its services will be an administrative fee of 25% calculated on the gross salary of all employees assigned to work with the district.

At last week’s meeting, Board member Heather Boone expressed concern about positions potentially held by people outside the community.

“I don’t see how this will attract more pilots,” she said. “I don’t think we are going in the right direction.

Monroe Charter Township resident Chelsey Robinson echoed Boone’s sentiment, saying those jobs should be kept in the district.

“This outsourcing shouldn’t be happening,” she said. “The drivers are friends, neighbors and family – we may have unemployed community members. “

Oley said the district needs to take immediate action.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the miracle we’re hoping for; I don’t know if this is the permanent solution… ”said Oley. “… Every school district in the state faces the same problem. … I know one thing: we have to go in a different direction.


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Jeffrey G. Foley

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