WARWICK, R.I. -- Mayor Allan Fung, who is running for governor, urged both parties in the protracted Providence school bus strike to "knock it off."

First Student, the bus company, and the Teamsters Local 251, which represents the bus drivers, have been at an impasse for 10 days, idling buses and forcing 9,000 students to find alternate transportation. The major sticking point is retirement benefits.

"We are not going to live in a state where children with disabilities are being used as pawns and not going to school for weeks and buses mysteriously go up in flames," Fung said Friday in a prepared statement. "Let's knock it off. Rhode Island is better than this.

"I'm calling on the mediator, Teamsters negotiators, and First Student representatives to go into a room this morning, and honestly, not come out until at least a temporary compromise is complete to have the buses going full speed again on Monday," he said. "This may be a private company, but they're impacting public education. The Governor doesn't think this is her role to intervene on behalf of these families? Of course it's your role, that's what leaders do! And when I'm Governor, it's not getting to get to day 10 and several burned out school buses later."

Governor Gina Raimondo has repeatedly said that she cannot intervene in a dispute that is between two private entities.