By Charles Sercombe
While other public school districts are eliminating or privatizing bus service, Hamtramck will stay on course with its own buses.
But that could change.
Recently, Detroit announced it was privatizing its bus service and Royal Oak announced that it is cutting out its service. Both school districts are facing multi-million dollar deficits.
Hamtramck is also facing economic woes with a $1.7 million budget deficit. The district has a five-year plan on dealing with the deficit, and one key part to reducing costs is to ask the teachers’ union to pay for 25 percent of their health insurance cost.
Superintendent Tom Niczay said he has been talking with the union but was guarded in saying how the negotiation is going.
“We’re making progress,” he said about the talks with the union.
Asked if he would consider eliminating bus service, he said: “Everything’s on the table.”
Niczay said in the coming weeks he will present several financial steps the district can take. He said that ultimately it’s up to the School Board to decide which financial plan – and cuts, if there are any – to adopt.
The school district received some good news this year. Instead of reporting on another year of losing students to other schools, the district attracted about 290 new students this year. A second head count was taken on Feb. 10.
The additional students mean more state financial revenue for the district – about $2 million worth.