MERIDEN, Conn. (WTN) — Students in Meriden Public Schools hopped on the bus Wednesday morning for the first day of school, but those buses might not be running by Friday morning because of a looming strike by bus drivers.
For many reasons, students at Nathan Hale Elementary say they’re glad to be back in every grade.
“It’s just really fun. I like learning stuff,” fourth grader Aria Agee said.
“Because we get to go to recess and stuff,” third grader Roman Gaspard said.
As much as they’re excited for the first day of school, the adults are worried about what’s coming up on the third day.
“A little bit, a little bit,” Dennis Blake admitted as he dropped his son, Kane, off at school. “It’s all hearsay, really, just hoping it doesn’t happen.”
A strike by the school bus drivers might happen. New Britain Transportation provides the bus service in Meriden. The contract between the company and Teamsters Local 671 expires on Thursday at the end of the day. Both sides have dug in with little progress in negotiations, which could mean their 60 or so bus drivers would walk off the job.
“There’s a neighborhood Facebook group, and there’s been a little chatter about it, but I don’t know really what’s going on with it, but that will be an issue,” mother Josette Gaspard said.
Traffic around schools was crazy enough Wednesday with school buses running. Many worry that asking parents to drive their kids would worsen it.
“That’s kind of impossible,” Amargo Fafara said as she dropped her daughter off. “It’s going to be delays. Hours of delays. Parents need to work.”
As of Wednesday morning, the spokesperson for the Teamsters says there’s been no substantive advancement in the negotiations and no plans to get back to the bargaining table soon.
If nothing changes, then that strike could go into effect Friday morning.