Durham: Each district bus system to have a day to negotiate

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Officials from Durham School Services said three days of meetings are planned with unionized bus drivers threatening to strike. Each group will have a day to meet with the bus company.

Officials did not know in which order the employees would meet with the bus service, however.

Statements from Charleston County School District and Dorchester District 2 say officials have not received any warning of a strike starting Tuesday, so schools and buses should operate on a normal schedule in the morning.

The pending school bus strike in Charleston and Dorchester counties did not start Monday morning, a relief to thousands of parents and school officials who were preparing for the worst.

However, Charleston County School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley said Monday morning that all the district can do is watch and wait for Durham School Services and the Teamsters union to act.

"We are a very interested third party. We have no control, which is frustrating," she said. "We are not in the driver's seat, so to speak."

Top leadership with CCSD met at 6 a.m. Monday.{}

"We have 400 drivers. There is a great deal of complexity to the routes so even if all of the drivers stayed out and somebody gave us a few hundred additional bus drivers it would still take a couple of days to get all the routes mapped out and familiarize the new drivers if it came to that with the routes, so it's a very serious logistical challenge to pull this off and yet that is what we are working toward." McGinley said.

Dorchester District 2 Superintendent Joe Pye is telling parents to watch for information sent home with their children over the next few days. Parents can also find updated information on school websites and through the school's text alert system.

There is also another website that is stepping in to help parents and children find rides to and from school in the event of a strike. Trident Rideshare is a free web-based service that connects people looking to share transportation across the tri-county area.

For CCSD parents, there is another website -- -- that connects parents looking to carpool their children.

Durham officials said in a statement Sunday that it and the union would resume talks to avert the pending strike on Tuesday.

"We remain committed to reaching an agreement with the Teamsters as we continue to balance the interests of out employees, our customers and our company at the negotiating table," the company said.

Durham School Services is in negotiations with their bus drivers who are asking for better wages and health care coverage.{} Drivers in Charleston County and Dorchester County have voted to strike if a deal is not reached by Monday.

Officials with the Charleston County School District said in a statement early Sunday afternoon that there was no sign that bus drivers would start their strike on Monday.

As a result, schools and buses would run normally, the district said.

"We know the situation can change at any time," the statement read.

In the event of a strike, the district is advising parents to arrive early to area schools and work out carpools with family, friends and neighbors.

Dorchester District 2 officials released a similar statement on Sunday afternoon.

"I hope it gets resolved. My number one wish is that there is a compromise and that both sides feel that they have walked away from the table with a fair settlement," McGinley said.