Suffolk looks at privatizing school bus operations

Source: Mike Connors, The Virginian-Pilot, September 21, 2015

Buses have caused many a headache in city schools the past few years, making some students late to class. Maintaining enough drivers has been hard, with some complaining about pay. School Board member David Mitnick thinks he has a possible solution: outsourcing the division’s transportation department. … According to an article this spring in School Bus Fleet magazine, which covers national school transportation topics, an estimated 35 percent of buses nationwide were contractor-owned in 2012-13. That was up from barely 25 percent five years earlier. … Board member Linda Bouchard said she favors any kind of outsourcing that is fiscally sound and does not interfere with students’ ability to learn. She noted that Suffolk faces unique busing issues because of its size and wide variety of landscapes, from urban to rural. … Board member Judith Brooks-Buck disagrees. She said that when she was principal of a school in Alabama a few decades ago, busing was outsourced. Problems still popped up, she said. She also said Suffolk has loyal drivers, and she wouldn’t want to diminish them in any way.