There will be no strike by school bus drivers, at least for now.
Las Cruces Public Schools asked for and received a temporary restraining order to prevent such a strike, which could have taken place as soon as Friday, April 1. Third Judicial District Court Judge James Martin granted the order.
So, for now, the school buses will continue to pick up and drop off students.
A preliminary injunction hearing is set for 10 a.m., Monday April 12.
The contract between the union for school bus drivers and the company they work for – Student Transportation Specialist – New Mexico – expired Thursday, March 31. The union members voted to approve a strike, which could have started as soon as Friday.
The bus drivers are not employees of the school district.
LCPDS Superintendent Stan Rounds said the school district had no say in the negotiations between STP-NM and the union, but could not just sit by either.
“The school district is not party to the negotiations that stalled,” Rounds said. “This ruling was necessary to protect the safety and education of our students. We’re very pleased with this ruling.”
The bus drivers’ union representatives, though, were less than pleased.
American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Las Cruces Transportation Federation #6341 President Marcos Torres jointly released the following statement:
“We are disappointed the Las Cruces Public Schools Board has chosen to intervene in this matter through the courts after STS-NM chose to discontinue negotiations on March 30. We will comply with the temporary order issued today by a Las Cruces judge preventing a strike from occurring before an April 12 hearing.”
Rounds said notes were sent home to parents Thursday to alert them of a looming strike. He said those notes can be disregarded.