As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states. The anti-idling project is the result of an EPA New England enforcement action to address excessive school bus idling and reduce school children’s exposure to diesel pollution.
This school year, Clovis Unified School District (USD) brought its special-education school bus service in house and anticipates a savings of about $400,000 per year as a result….The district had been contracting the service when Director of Transportation Charlie Ott joined the operation two years ago after previously working at Yuba City (Calif.) USD. At the latter district, he oversaw the transition from contracted to district-run bus service, and he told SBF in an interview that it continues to be a successful move for Yuba City…
…He approached the contractor’s management team to inform them that Clovis would be bringing in house 60 bus routes starting with the 2011-12 school year. Realizing that this could affect bus drivers’ employment for the next year, those who worked for the contractor were given an opportunity to interview for positions within the school district….
….All of the changes cost a reported $8 million, but Ott said the district will see long-term savings….He arrived at the estimated $400,000 annual savings by completing an analysis of the total cost of continuing with the school bus company, taking into consideration historical data that the contract used, such as consumer price index for urban areas figures and cost of living allowance figures and running them on a spreadsheet for the next 18 years. He then totaled all of Clovis USD’s costs, including the parking lot, buildings, buses, positions, salutatory benefits, health and welfare benefits and retirement, including historical data, and compared the bus company and school district numbers at 12-, 15-, and 18-year intervals. …..
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) is an automated system that quantifies motor carrier on road safety performance by Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). FMCSA uses the SMS results and serious violations in these BASICs to prioritize its enforcement resources. Carriers with relatively high on-road violation or crash rates that exceed a CSA intervention threshold, noted by a [Exceeds Intervention Threshold] symbol on the SMS website, will be identified and prioritized for interventions such as warning letters and investigations. FMCSA will monitor these motor carriers’ safety performances for improvement.
The SMS results displayed on the SMS website are not intended to imply any federal safety rating of the carrier pursuant to 49 USC 31144. Readers should not draw conclusions about a carrier’s overall safety condition simply based on the data displayed in this system. Unless a motor carrier in the SMS has received an UNSATISFACTORY safety rating pursuant to 49 CFR Part 385, or has otherwise been ordered to discontinue operations by the FMCSA, it is authorized to operate on the nation’s roadways.
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…The Board of Education is set to approve a request for proposals for private maintenance and custodial services at its next meeting… The board is also looking into a cost-saving transportation agreement with the Livingston Educational Service Agency that’s already in place in all other Livingston County school districts, Superintendent Rick Heinrich said….
Privatization brings debate in Fowlerville
Source: Amanda Whitesell, Daily Press & Argus, March 28, 2012
Rochester Community Schools would save $11.7 million over three years by contracting with two companies to manage bus drivers, custodians and some grounds workers, Board of Education members learned this week….
…The privatization of the district’s transportation department would cover the entire department: 150 positions, including drivers, aides, dispatchers and secretaries. The district received bids from four firms. An interview team, which consisted of two school board members and administrators, selected Durham School Services as the potential contracted company for transportation services….Drivers would likely be offered an hourly wage increase, though there would be increases in healthcare costs and the loss of other benefits, such as vacation and sick days….
…The privatization of the district’s custodians would cover about 100 employees: all custodians and the three high school grounds positions. The district received bids from six firms. The interview team selected GCA Education Services as the potential contracted company for these services…. It’s not known how many current RCS employees would be hired by GCA; their wage and benefit packages were said to be “competitive.”….
Source: School Bus Fleet, March 26, 2012
Student Transportation Inc. and its subsidiary Student Transportation of America Inc. (STA) have been awarded four new contracts that will start with the upcoming school year. Two of the contracts are for operations in Connecticut and will reportedly add over $4.6 million in annualized revenues. STA will purchase a new fleet of 80 vehicles as part of the agreement.
The Connecticut contracts, which are both for five years, allow for extensions following the initial term. In addition, both include 100-percent customer-paid fuel clauses.
Officials said STA currently has several longstanding operating locations in Connecticut and the new contracts will integrate well into the existing regional structure…The other two contracts are for operations in New Hampshire, and they are also five-year agreements. Officials said they include extensions and will add approximately $4.3 million in annualized revenues for the next fiscal year.
A Glendale Republican lawmaker is moving to preclude the next bus strike in Arizona before it occurs.
Sen. Rick Murphy has crafted language he said would make it illegal for anyone working for a company that contracts with government to provide public services to walk off the job. HB 2848 would make it illegal even to threaten to strike.
Muskegon school officials are exploring the privatization of school employees to help deal with a projected $5.7 million budget deficit for next year.
The district is seeking bids from firms from which it could contract clerks, classroom aides, custodians and bus drivers. Many school districts from the region, as well as across the state, already have privatized employees to save money.
From the press release:
New study recommends in-sourcing school transportation operations to save taxpayers millions…Pennsylvania school districts that contract with private bus operators end up spending more taxpayer dollars on transportation than those that manage their own bus fleets, according to a new report from the Keystone Research Center.
Total costs for all taxpayers are nearly $223,900 higher when a typical Pennsylvania school district goes from providing all bus services in house to contracting with a private operator. If every school district in Pennsylvania in-sourced transportation services, taxpayers would save an estimated $78 million….
NEW HOPE – Never mind a combined total of 500-plus years of service by dedicated school bus drivers. The board of directors for Robbinsdale Area Schools, ISD 281, is nearing a March 5 vote on whether to outsource the jobs of the district’s school bus drivers to a private contractor. Outsourcing was a threat the district issued to the drivers and their union, SEIU Local 284, if the workers failed to agree to contract concessions….
…The district administration insists that contracting out the 26 full-time, 80 part-time drivers’ jobs — and selling its bus fleet — will save $1.3 million….The union warns that a large, national school bus company like First Student — who the district is expected to pick — can take the district for a ride….