Transportation Jobs on the Line at School District in the Poconos

PARADISE TOWNSHIP, Pa.  -- Hundreds of yard signs and giant electronic billboards have been popping up all over the Mount Pocono area -- all of them asking to support bus drivers from Pocono Mountain School District.

About 200 transportation jobs are on the line as the district considers outsourcing to a third-party company.

Dawn Cello is a bus driver and says currently employees are under contract.

"It would be horrible, devastating to our community. I have been here 19 years, and at the end of this year, I will be close to my 20th year," said union president Dawn Cello.

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday night.

District officials say a third-party service company called First Student will present its proposal.

The board does not intend to make a decision at the meeting, but it is looking into ways to save money.

Drivers fear if the company takes over, workers will have to start over.

"The new company might give you an opportunity to interview with them, but it would be under their conditions with their pay rate, benefits, no pension, stuff like that," said Cello.

Some bus drivers we spoke to say besides potentially losing their jobs, they are also concerned about the students because drivers see them every day.

Parents have their concerns, too.

Vincent McMail of Pocono Farms has a 13-year-old son at the district.

"He's had the same bus driver for the last three years now. I don't think he would like to have some random person driving him around," said McMail.

"Our kids mean a lot to us, and to be fired would be heartbreaking to most of us," said bus driver Terry Fox.

The transportation meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the auditorium at Pocono Mountain East High School.

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