Haverhill School Committee Refuses to Revisit Bus Driver Contract; Trash Collection Idea Evaporates

Haverhill school bus. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A plan to have school bus drivers stay on the job and pick up trash appears to have quietly evaporated, and Haverhill School Committee members expressed no appetite Thursday to revisit the matter.

School Committee members and Superintendent Margaret Marotta panned the idea, attributed to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, at a Finance Committee meeting earlier this month, and no formal proposal came forward. Instead, school bus provider NRT unsuccessfully proposed the city continue to make payments even though vehicles are idled due to statewide school closures. The committee voted last month to stop paying NRT for services not delivered as of April 1

NRT President John J. McCarthy proposed Haverhill pay for the month of April and part of May at a rate of 78%, then dropping to 48 percent for the remainder of the contract. That 30% reduction would be the result of him furloughing his drivers temporarily leaving only maintenance and other associated costs.

“The registry isn’t stopping their inspections of the school buses to make sure that these vehicles are going to be safe when school goes back. So, some of those costs are still incurred. So, it’s not just so much the drivers but it’s also the fact that the fleet needs to be upkept to make sure that it passes before they go back on the road,” he explained.

In the end, the Committee was not moved by McCarthy’s request, however, and Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. motioned to table it indefinitely. Fiorentini said he might put the proposal back on the agenda in the future.

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