Johnston to decide on bus privatization Monday

Source: Linh Ta, Des Moines Register, April 20, 2016

The Johnston school district will decide Monday whether it will hire a private company to provide transportation for students or continue to operate its own fleet of buses. The district has been studying the issue for months. … Johnston spent approximately $3.1 million on student transportation during the 2015 fiscal year, an increase of about $600,000 from four years earlier, according to numbers provided by the district. It operates a fleet of 75 buses and employs about 60 drivers. Four transportation companies — Durham School Services, Student Transportation of America, Metropolitan Transportation Network and First Student — have presented proposals ranging from $2.95 million to $3.7 million for one year, based on 2016-17 costs. Two of those proposals are less than $3.12 million, the amount the district expects to spend if it maintains its own bus fleet. … A survey of 53 JESPA drivers showed that eight drivers would stay if the district opts to privatize busing, 16 were undecided and 29 said they would not return. … If a private company were hired, existing district drivers would be rehired at the same wages, but their benefits would change. Johnston offers paid sick days and access to the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System. If the district contracts its transportation services, drivers would have access to a 401(k) and would likely not receive paid time off, said Laura Kacer, executive director of human resources.

Related:

Johnston considers privatizing school bus service
Source: Linh Ta, The Des Moines Register, October 23, 2015

The Johnston school district is considering privatizing its bus service in an effort to save money and avoid ongoing problems with driver shortages. … Johnston spent approximately $3.1 million transporting students during the 2015 fiscal year, an increase of about $600,000 from four years earlier, according to numbers provided by the district. It operates a fleet of 75 buses and employs about 60 drivers. The district will request proposals from private busing companies to see how much money it could save before making a decision. It also could consider scaling back the service it currently offers. … Johnston would consider adding a contract stipulation that any private company place a priority on hiring current district transportation employees, according to Superintendent Lunn. … But drivers who were counting on receiving full retirement benefits under the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System would be out of luck, Howsare said.