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Baumann bus company closes, leaving school districts searching for replacements

About 1,000 drivers lose their jobs

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Baumann Co., one of Long Island's largest school bus companies, has filed notice with the New York State Labor Department that is will cease operations immediately. The company filed a WARN notice with the Labor Department on April 28.

Baumann serves school districts in Long Beach and much of the South Shore. However, the Long Beach School District has its own fleet of buses and used Baumann for a few routes, according to School Board President Maureen Vrona.

"Long Beach Schools owns most of its own buses," Vrona said. "We only contract out with Baumann on a small number of runs. If school were to reopen this year we would attempt to consolidate other routes and possibly rebid the routes we had contracted with Baumann."

Approximately 1,000 drivers and other employees have lost their jobs.

Long Beach and other school district officials could not immediately be reached for comment as to how children will be bused to classes when schools re-open.

Officials of Baumann, which has been in business for over 50 years, could not immediately be reached for comment. But the company's

(WARN) Workers Readjustment and Retraining Notice, had been expected. The company has been letting some employees go for weeks as school districts closed and Baumann was not receiving pay from the districts.

The company said because the school districts weren't paying them during the school closures, they did not have money to pay the workers.

DAN DeCrotie, the president of Local 1205, the union representing the workers, said: "This has been an ongoing issue since Governor Cuomo removed the 180-day requirement for a school district to maintain state aid. That state aid is supposed to be used to pay district employees and vendors. This has not happened. The lack of clarity or guidance from the NYSED regarding this issue has resulted in most districts not paying their school bus transportation companies, and now you see the results. Approximately 900 hard-working members who transport the most precious cargo there is on a daily basis now find themselves unemployed."