BROOKLYN - School bus drivers' unions are threatening to strike over a contract dispute, and students could be affected as early as tomorrow morning.

Bus drivers say they will strike if the Employee Protection Provision is eliminated from school busing contracts, which expires at the end of June. The unions say the city's Department of Education (DOE) is proposing to eliminate the provision, which would take away seniority from bus drivers. The city says it wants to let bus contracts go to competitive bidding in order to save taxpayer dollars.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says if there is a strike, all students who receive yellow bus service are eligible for MetroCards, which can be requested through their schools. Parents and guardians of preschool children and children with individualized education programs may also request MetroCards so they can ride as their child's escort.

If the drivers go on strike, students from kindergarten through sixth grade who receive yellow bus service and do not live near public transportation can be reimbursed for transportation costs, Walcott says.