East Chicago, schools reach agreement over $1 million bus tiff
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com August 20, 2014 3:44PM
Copeland, Anthony 2006 East Chicago democratic city chairman and East Chicago city councilman.
Updated: August 21, 2014 2:07AM
EAST CHICAGO — Mayor Anthony Copeland and School City of East Chicago Superintendent Youssef “Dr. Joe” Yomtoob have resolved a financial dispute — totaling more than $1 million — that nearly led to the district’s buses being banned from using the city’s bus barn.
Neither Copeland nor Yomtoob would reveal the terms of the settlement because it is subject to approval by the district school board at its Thursday meeting.
In June, city attorneys informed the school city that it owed $1,037,000 under a February 2009 lease agreement, which charged the district $42,000 per month to use the bus barn and gas pumps at 5400 Cline Ave.
They mentioned numerous attempts to resolve the issue and advised the district to resolve the situation in 30 days. The school’s attorney responded, but admitted it would be impossible for the district to come up with the money as it is facing a $3.5 million deficit.
Yomtoob credited the mayor for working with him, saying the two met several times to establish a good relationship and come to an agreement.
“The mayor has been very generous,” Yomtoob said. “It’s all about relationships and trust. I think the city and the previous administration met once over the past few years.
“I remove obstacles; I don’t create them.”
Copeland was positive about the proposal, saying he was pleased to help provide reliable transportation for students.
“We wrestled, but (Yomtoob) won,” Copeland said. “The buses are rolling; there’s been no interruption. We came to a gentleman’s agreement and agreed to disagree on some points.”