New York City is now in the midst of a school bus strike, stranding more than 100,000 students.
As usual, each side blames the other for intransigence.
But there are a few facts that should be remembered for context.
The Bloomberg administration has had complete control of the school system since 2002 and negotiated all existing contracts.
In 2006, then Chancellor Joel Klein gave a contract for $15.8 million to business turnaround consultants Alvarez & Marsal to reorganize the transportation program. Some of the executives were paid $500 an hour (plus expenses). On January 31, 2007, the buses adopted the A&M schedule for the first time. It was the coldest day of the year. Thousands of children were left stranded on bitter-cold corners. It was chaos.
Chancellor Klein defended the choice of A&M, saying they had saved the city at least $50 million.
Presumably, this is the system that the mayor now finds intolerable and outrageously expensive.
Alvarez & Marsal were previously known for its work in St. Louis, where they ran the district like a business for one year, collected $5 million, and left, shortly before the state declared the district o be in such bad shape that the state took control.
A&M’s last school assignment was in DC, where Chancellor Kaya Henderson hired them to review test security procedures, though they had no experience doing that.