The William Floyd School District provides 100% busing for its nearly 9,000 students from each of the district’s 10 schools including six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high school programs. As of August 10, 2018, the William Floyd School District has a new transportation provider due to the former vendor, East End Bus Lines, defaulting on a five-year contract and demanding additional compensation in the amount of $16.5 million over the three remaining years of the contract under threat of cessation of services. Acme Bus Corp., the district’s new transportation provider, has worked extremely well with the district over the past two years of serving the summer transportation contract. Acme Bus Corp. is in need of a full complement of large bus drivers to ensure that William Floyd students are transported to and from school in a timely manner when school opens on Wednesday, September 5. Please apply to Acme today by calling (631) 471-4600 or in person at their Medford yard, 30 West Yaphank Road in Medford. Ronald and Lori Baumann, along with representatives from Acme Bus Corp., will also be in district office from 9 am – 3 pm each day through Friday, August 24, to accept applications and answer any questions.
Click here for additional information regarding East End Bus Lines’ demand for an additional $16.5 million of taxpayer funds and click here for the signed contract with East End.
About and working for Acme Bus Corp.
Q: Is the new vendor, Acme Bus Corp., a responsible company?
A: Acme Bus Corp. has provided summer transportation for William Floyd students for the past two years and has lived up to the provisions of the contract seamlessly. Additionally, Acme Bus Corp. has been in operation for nearly 60 years and currently services numerous school districts including Commack, Northport, Rockville Centre, Baldwin, Freeport, Middle Country and more.
Q: Why did you go with the lowest bidder in the new transportation contract?
A: By law, local municipalities must use companies that provide the “lowest responsible bid.”
Q: Does the new bus company have all the drivers it needs to run the routes?
Not yet. They are actively recruiting and hiring for September. The current priority is hiring large bus drivers, but they are also hiring van drivers and driver assistants. Please contact Acme Bus Corp. at
(631) 471-4600 to apply. You can also apply at the Medford yard. 30 West Yaphank Rd, Medford. The owners, Ronald and Lori Baumann, along with representatives from Acme, will also be in district office from 9 am – 3 pm through Friday, August 24, to answer any questions and accept applications.
Q: What is Acme offering regarding salary and benefits? Are there daily minimums? Mid-day park-outs? Sick days? Snow days?
- Large bus drivers can pick within their seniority for two years;
- The probationary period has been waived;
- An additional $600 bonus given to large bus drivers after 12 weeks of work (on top of other bonuses including signing bonuses up to $1,500 and referral bonuses up to $1,000 as outlined below)
- Benefits for full-time employment;
- Large bus drivers will make $22.80 per hour with increases as scheduled;
- Van drivers will make up to $19.15 per hour with increases as scheduled;
- Driver’s assistants will make $14.15 per hour with their 10-hour certificate; driver’s assistants who do not have their 10-hour certificate will make $13.45 per hour with increases as scheduled;
- A sign-on bonus of up to $1,500 and a referral bonus of up to $1,000 for previous William Floyd drivers is offered. Drivers on William Floyd routes who don’t qualify for the sign-on bonus due to an accident or other circumstances, will receive a $500 sign-on bonus after completing one year of service;
- Acme Bus Corp. allows mid-day park outs for drivers residing in the William Floyd School District;
- Sick days (non-probationary employees – five per year);
- Drivers/driver assistants will be paid a maximum of six snow/emergency days per school year;
- Acme Bus Corp. has a five-and-a-half hour (5.5) minimum guarantee for two reports for large bus drivers and a five-hour (5) minimum guarantee for van drivers and driver assistants for two reports, although most work days will be longer than that.
- All drive time is paid, which includes from the yard to the first pick-up and back again at the end of the shift.
Q: Will the salary change at any point?
A: Acme Bus Corp. is in negotiations with their union and any changes in rate of pay will be retroactive to the beginning of the school year.
Q: If I accept a position with Acme Bus Corp., will I lose my seniority?
A: Acme Bus Corp’s current union, Local 1205, has agreed to honor large bus driver seniority for two years for drivers who previously drove William Floyd routes. These large bus drivers will pick first within their seniority from the William Floyd routes. After the two years have been completed, the seniority list will join together with the Local 1205 current seniority list for large bus drivers, with the previous William Floyd drivers who start on the first day of the 2018-19 school year. Because all of the drivers will have the same date of hire, their seniority for that date will be based upon their previous seniority order.
Q: I heard Acme Bus Corp’s buses are really old. Is this true?
A: Acme Bus Corp. just purchased 65 brand new buses (zero mileage) to service the students of the William Floyd School District. The average age of Acme buses for William Floyd routes is approximately four years old.
Q: If I accept a position as a driver for Acme Bus Corp. servicing William Floyd, how far will I have to drive each day to pick up my bus?
A: The vans will be housed in a parking lot of the William Floyd School District for the first year, with details and plans of the location in the works. The large buses will still be housed at the Acme Bus Corp. Medford yard located at 30 West Yaphank Road in Medford, which is a 20-minute drive from the centrally-located district office, 240 Mastic Beach Road in Mastic Beach.
Q: When does a driver’s workday start?
A: As previously mentioned, Acme Bus Corp. pays all drive time which includes from the yard to the route and back again at the end of the shift.
Q: As a large bus driver, do I have to bring the bus back to the yard in between pick-ups?
A: Acme Bus Corp. will provide mid-day park-outs to drivers living within the William Floyd School District or any location in between the Medford yard and their route.
Previous contract defaulted by East End Bus Lines
Q: Wasn’t East End Bus Lines only asking for the money that the district promised in the contract when they requested an additional $16.5 million over the final three years of the contract ($5.5 million per year)?
A: No. For the 2016-2017 school year, which was the first year of the contract with East End Bus Lines, East End received payments totaling $12.7 million for the services they provided. In the second year of the contract (2017-2018), East End received payments totaling $12.2 million for a total reduction of approximately $500,000 due to an East End/WFSD mutually agreed upon restructuring of routes.
Q: Since $12.7 million and $12.2 million were paid to East End, what happened to the rest of the money that was budgeted for transportation?
A: East End Bus Lines was not the only expenditure in the transportation budget. The transportation budget included costs for East End Bus Lines (paid only live miles or for the transportation that he actually provided), summer transportation provider (Acme Bus Corp.), transporting out-of-district placements including special education, homeless students and transient students, as well as liability insurance, software, salaries and benefits for William Floyd employees working in the district’s transportation department. Any surplus from this category, like any other surplus, is allocated to legally-allowed reserves such as the capital and repair reserves established to fund the forthcoming capital project overwhelmingly approved by voters in October 2017. Additionally, any surpluses in the past have been used to pay down early any outstanding debts/bonds from previous construction and capital projects, which saves the cost of interest over the long term, similar to a private homeowner paying off a home mortgage early. This smart and responsible fiscal planning and operation is a primary reason why the William Floyd School District’s credit rating received a boost to Aa3 by Moody’s Investor Services in 2016 and the reason that the tax levy rate was decreased by $1 million in 2017.
Q: Rumors have been spreading that the district did not pay East End Bus Lines for the past several months. Is that true?
A: That is incorrect. The district has acted responsibly in all facets of the agreement with East End. Had the district defaulted instead of East End Bus Lines, the district would not have been able to rebid the contract. Additionally, cashed check receipts from the district to East End Bus Lines can be accessed via a Freedom of Information Law request.
Q: Was East End paid in full and up front for the entire five-year contract?
A: No. East End received all that they were entitled to during year one and year two of the contract.
Q: Why isn’t the district requiring that Acme Bus Corp. hire drivers/assistants at their previous rates?
A: It is illegal for the William Floyd School District or any government entity to compel a private company on who they should hire and at what rate. While the district would very much prefer that the previous employees work for Acme Bus Corp., it cannot compel a private company on its hiring practices. Those labor relations matters are between the union and the company. However, the district has made its thoughts known that it is preferable to hire current drivers who are already familiar with the community and its routes. Acme Bus Corp. has expressed the same interest in hiring the previous bus drivers to fulfill its new routes in order to keep the continuity and get William Floyd students to school in a timely manner in order for them to get the most out of their education.
Q: Can the William Floyd School District just purchase its own buses and hire the drivers and driver assistants as its own employees?
A: Some districts have chosen that route, but bringing all of those expenses in house such as fuel, insurance, a bus yard, maintenance, repairs, salaries and benefits, along with the cost of state pension contributions, would result in a much larger expenditure for transportation than is currently in place. Again, had East End Bus Lines fulfilled its contract, the district, it’s nearly 9,000 students, the drivers and driver assistants would not be in this position.
Q: Will Acme Bus Corp. lose the contract if they are unsuccessful in hiring the required number of drivers necessary for normal school operations? And if so, will it go back to East End?
A: No. The William Floyd School District is working with Acme Bus Corp. to try to minimize any disruptions to the opening of school for our students. The district fully understands the challenges that Acme Bus Corp. is facing in hiring a driving fleet of this size so close to the beginning of the school year and will work with them to help them be successful. East End or any other business owned and operated by that vendor will never service the William Floyd School District again.
Q: Will there be delays at the beginning of the school year and any disruption to the education of our children due to this situation?
A: Should Acme Bus Corp. be successful in hiring the necessary drivers, we expect the normal “start of the school year” hiccups to occur due to proud families taking photos of their children on the first day of school, drivers becoming familiarized with the new routes, etc. Should Acme be unsuccessful in hiring the necessary drivers in time for the beginning of the school year, there will be delays. The district is planning for either scenario and will inform the community along the way of any plans to ease this transition.
Please know that the William Floyd School District has been and will continue to remain good stewards of the community’s resources and will not acquiesce to unreasonable and illegal demands for compensation. We thank you for your patience during this transition and hope you understand that it was the right thing to do.