ANDOVER – The USD 385 Board of Education will vote on the district’s recommendation for transportation services starting with the 2016-2017 school year. District administration has recommended Durham School Services, a national company who claims to transport over 1,000,000 students across the country each day.
The District has been debating the outsourcing of it’s transportation for much of the school year, and put the contract up for bid in December. Over the past year, district administration has been plagued with issues such as driver shortages, which Durham says they can alleviate with their established pool of employees in the area.
According to administrators, employees who are currently working for the district can expect to see more money in their pockets as well, with starting wages in one proposal rising by over four dollars per hour. The District expects that with the transition, most all of the employees who are currently working would be eligible for hire with the contractor.
“Its a tough decision.” said Board Member Josh Wells said during January’s monthly meeting. “Things are tight. They are going to get tighter. Those are challenges we will have to figure out. If we can increase services, we have to look at that.”
The current level of service is costing USD 385 some $1,700,000 per year to operate. The district is frequently plagued with problems such as driver shortages and aging equipment. Officials say that the contracts with the two transportation companies will not cost the district anymore than it is paying now. However, the level of services provided by both companies would cost some $2,100,000 if the district were to perform the upgrades itself.
“After another extensive review process we have concluded that contracting our transportation services is an excellent option for the future of the district.” Administrators said in their recommendation. “With contracting, we will be able to enhance services, upgrade the bus fleet, add staff and increase employee hourly wages while not increasing district costs.”
The meeting starts at 6:30 PM in the Andover School District Office.