The board of education for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools has agreed, in a 5-2 vote, to privatize transportation services.
This means the board will no longer negotiate with the transportation union, which represents 150 general and special education drivers, as well as bus monitor employees.
Several of the union members left the meeting in tears. School board officials said during the meeting that the move will save the district about 57 percent of current costs.
The board approved a 3-year agreement with Michigan Educational Transportation Services. Negotiations ended with the union on Friday, said interim superintendent Jeremy Hughes. The district spent $8 million for transportation services during the last school year.
The district's contract with the drivers and monitors ended on June 30. Drivers and bus aides may reapply for their jobs, but will likely lose both medical and retirement benefits, said union steward William Barber.
The school district's $162 million budget includes a deficit of $11 million.
Check back on this page for details of Tuesday's school board meeting.