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May 19, 2019

City’s yellow bus contracts boss pushed out as routes go unstaffed

October 8, 2018
Deputy Chancellor, Department of Education Elizabeth Rose speaks at a press conference in June. (Go Nakamura for New York Daily News)

A top city Education Department official tasked with fixing the city’s yellow bus crisis was pushed out of her job even as dozens of scheduled bus routes go unstaffed, according to sources in city government and the yellow bus companies.

Former Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose resigned Friday from her post as “Senior Transportation Contracts Advisor,” where she’d been reassigned just two weeks earlier as service and safety scandals engulfed the city’s $1.2 billion yellow bus system.

Sources with knowledge of the situation said Rose was pushed out of her $197,425 job – but school officials said she voluntarily quit.

In a goodbye letter sent to her colleagues, the nine-year veteran of the city’s school system said she didn’t have another job lined up.

“I have served under five chancellors, and am proud of the work my teams and I have accomplished,” said Rose in the note, which was first published on the NYC Public School Parents blog. “I have decided it is time to leave the DOE, both to spend additional time on some personal needs, and to figure out my next adventure.”

Rose had been demoted to CEO of school operations in August from her previous role of Deputy Chancellor, where she oversaw major projects, such universal free lunch, rolled out by former schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

After her demotion and reassignment, Rose finalized emergency extensions for transportation contracts held by yellow bus companies that were widely blamed for delays and no-shows at the start of the school year.

Those contract extensions – which are retroactive to the start of the current school year — will be voted on by the Mayor’s Panel for Educational Policy on October 30.

People with knowledge of the situation said Rose had been given a two-week ultimatum when she was reassigned to the bus contracts role on Sept. 22.

“They gave her two weeks to find another role within DOE or leave,” said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They’re pushing her out.”

Rose’s departure came as city Education Department officials struggle to address problems in the public schools’ $1.2 billion yellow bus system.

Bus company executives say a shortage of drivers has prohibited the yellow bus industry from providing service on dozens of routes created by the city.

City Education Department officials won’t say how many routes are impacted but bus company execs said it’s more than 100.

Rose is the second top Education official to leave the Department since problems with the yellow bus system erupted at the start of the school year, generating more than 105,000 calls to the city’s help line from impacted families.

Amid the shakeup schools Chancellor Richard Carranza installed a new bus czar, longtime city educator and administrator Kevin Moran, who’s become Carranza’s senior advisor on transportation tasked with fixing the yellow bus system.

Carranza thanked Rose for her service in an official statement issued at the time of her departure.

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