School busses stopped by furlough Fridays - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

School busses stopped by furlough Fridays

Ken LeVasseur Ken LeVasseur

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

KAHALUU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Forward and backward, top to bottom, any way you looked at it, the parking lot at Gomes School Bus Service was packed.

Furlough Friday's put the fleet of yellow busses off the road and out of commission.

"We end up with school busses not being able to earn full bid amounts because there's no school suddenly seventeen days out of the year," Ken LeVasseur said.

Levassuer has been in the school bus business a long time.

As a driver, the impact of schools closing for furloughs hits him where it hurts.

"If you like kids you can make money as a school bus driver. Twenty dollars an hour is nothing to scoff at," he said.

Some drivers do it part-time while others make it a full-time job, driving charters when they're not driving children to and from school.

That's the other rub.

"Unfortunately, with the state of the economy there's a lot less charters out there now," LeVasseur said.

Executives at Oahu's handful of school bus companies estimate if schools are out seventeen furlough days a year, their companies will lose ten percent of revenue. It adds up to millions of dollars in lost income.

"We can't plan in a firm manner anymore," LeVasseur said. "You've got to put in a lot more room for error."

Statewide, 800 school bus drivers and 300 aides who help with special needs students are affected by the furloughs.

Copyright 2009 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly