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CSEA-Represented School Mechanics Employed At Ballston Spa Central School District Say ‘Safety Is A Top Priority’ For School Workers

Published Wednesday, September 23, 2020
by Therese Assalian/CSEA News
CSEA-Represented School Mechanics Employed At Ballston Spa Central School District Say ‘Safety Is A Top Priority’ For School Workers

(BALLSTON SPA, NEW YORK) – Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA)-represented School Mechanics at Ballston Spa Central School District are getting high grades for safety, with near perfect scores from the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) over the last four years.

School bus safety is a top priority for school districts, so most schools establish periodic maintenance schedules.

The State DOT backs that up with compliance inspections, checking Driver and mileage reports.

This one-two combination means New York State school buses are some of the safest in the country.

At Ballston Spa Central School District, 87 buses and school vehicles make up a fleet of 120 district vehicles that rotate through monthly service checks.

DOT Representatives come to the school semi-annually as part of that department’s total of nearly 200 DOT inspections per year.

After schools had closed in March, buses at Ballston Spa were still in service for special education runs, as well as community service support like food deliveries and a popular backpack program, reports Head Mechanic Brad Pingelski.

CSEA Members who are employed as Mechanics at the district are proud of the work they do.

“We know that on each run there could be up to (72) kids on each bus ‘and we are responsible to them and the Drivers,’” Mechanic Tom Smith said.

Ballston Spa Central School District Unit President Sue Spain, a Bus Driver, values the back-up that Mechanics provide: “If ‘ever there are any problems with our bus, they tell us to pull over and they come right to us, wherever we are, to help.’  Our Mechanics ‘are on call (24/7).’  ‘They don’t leave until all the buses are in and everyone is home.’”

As school districts statewide were busy with their plans to safely reopen schools, School Employees are continuing to balance educational goals with safety concerns for both themselves and students.

As schools reopen, CSEA-represented School Employees have the added benefit of dedicated CSEA Occupational Safety and Health Staff to turn to.

Spain said she has been in frequent contact with CSEA Occupational Safety and Health Specialist Brian Pomeroy, whose area includes the Capital Region, with questions about safety protocols for her unit of 250 Members working in seven different buildings.

“We are ‘working continuously’ with CSEA Safety and Health ‘to make sure all protocols are in place to protect students and Members alike,’” Spain said.

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