PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Western Pennsylvanians are used to school strikes, but usually with teachers at the beginning of the school year.

This time it’s different — a possible strike by school bus drivers in two neighboring school districts, North Hills and Shaler Area.

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The dispute is not with the school district but with First Student, the company hired by both school districts to provide transportation for their students.

In a letter to parents, superintendents warned families of “the possibility that the company’s 170 bus drivers could go on strike as early as May 15.”

Bus drivers are represented by Teamsters Local 249, and union officials tell KDKA money editor Jon Delano that — after rejecting the company’s final contract offer — the company will meet with union officials next Tuesday to try to reach an agreement.

In a statement, First Student spokesperson Jennifer Biddinger tells KDKA, “We have been negotiating in good faith with union representatives. So far, we have yet to reach an agreement. We are committed to reaching a resolution.”

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If there is a strike, the school district warns that “families will be responsible to provide transportation for their students.”

Neither the North Hills nor Shaler Area School District would talk on camera, but both say they are hopeful there will not be a school bus strike so close to the end of year.

In fact, that’s what everyone says. Nobody seems to want this bus strike, and that includes many bus drivers.

“I think they’ll negotiate, and we’ll be driving on the 15th,” predicts Eddie Siwicki, a First Student bus driver.

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