Mat-Su school bus strike ends after over a month

PALMER — A school bus strike in Mat-Su that lasted for more than a month ended Sunday when members of the union representing school bus workers approved a tentative agreement, officials say.

Teamsters Local 959 voted to ratify the agreement with Durham School Services, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District announced in a message to families Sunday evening. Both sides announced they’d reached an agreement last week.

In an update Monday, the district said both regular and special education buses will be running Monday, though regular buses will be operating on a limited basis. That’s because the district is resuming rolling bus route cancellations that were expected to end the last week in January — when the strike began.

Durham has struggled to provide regular bus service since taking over the district transportation contract at the start of the school year, when a problem-plagued rollout earned community and district censure.

The Mat-Su School Board in 2021 approved a 10-year transportation contract with the company worth at least $188 million and as much as $220 million to take over from longtime bus provider First Student. Drivers and other bus employees had been working without an updated contract since Durham took over in August.