INDIANAPOLIS — A union representing transportation employees in fear of being replaced after Indianapolis Public Schools decided to stop operating its own transportation department held a closed-door meeting Saturday.
The public was not allowed in the meeting, but RTV6 learned the purpose of the meeting was to figure out how to get answers to the questions employees have about the future of their jobs.
"It caught us off-guard. There's no doubt about the anxiety of the employees is absolutely real and justified," Dave Robertson, the union's executive director, said.
For the first time, IPS will not operate its own transportation department, and the district will end its relationship with Durham School Services when their current contract ends on June 30. Starting July 1, all of IPS' 305 bus routes will be operated by First Student, which is expected to save the school district $7 million.
Robertson said some of the employees who could be impacted have more than two decades of service.
"These folks have been loyal on both ends and to say you have to re-apply, that's kind of a slap in the face to workers," Robertson said.
IPS said parting ways with Durham Transportation and allowing First Student to take over will affect 135 current employees. Questions drivers have include what it means for retirement packages.
"What happens to their folks that have been employed with IPS transportation for a year?" Robertson said.
Robertson also said drivers want to know about the money IPS claims it will be saving.
"Where is that $7 million going at this point?" he asked.
There are plans for drivers to show up in numbers at Tuesday's school board meeting in hopes of getting clarification on the changes being made.