Advertisement

School Board weighs bus contracts

January 02, 2001

School Board weighs bus contracts



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The Washington County Board of Education will wait two weeks to decide whether to renew the services of four school bus contractors. Members stated Tuesday night they want to weigh information from both sides.

Board administrators believe the school system would save a significant amount of money by buying their own buses. The Washington County School Bus Contractor's Association claims the school system would see no savings.

The School Board owns 114 buses and uses 63 contracted buses.

It pays $8,480 a year for 12 years to its contractors in per-vehicle allotments. Contractors use the payments to pay off their buses. The School Board then works out an agreement with the contractors to provide school transportation service.

Over the 12-year-period, the School Board said, the per-vehicle allotments add up to $100,800 per bus. By law, buses can only be used to carry students for 12 years.

Advertisement

According to a cost comparison written by the School Board, the board can buy buses for about $54,000. With finance charges, the cost of one bus would be about $67,000, or a savings of about $33,800.

Contractors aren't buying the report and say they think an independent consultant should draft the cost comparison for an accurate picture of all expenses.

They also said they believe their services would cost even less money once additional costs are added to the board's figures. Those additional expenses include maintenance of facilities, cell phone costs, water and sewer fees, fuel tank maintenance and office supplies.

Such costs were not included in the School Board's report, they said.

On the other hand, the board included unnecessary amounts in its total costs and left out contractor expenses, which is what's causing the conflict in numbers, according to Hoffman.

Board administrators said they believe the school system is on target with its numbers.

Hoffman also said the School Board would be stuck hiring all new bus drivers if it chose to buy its buses.

Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett said in December that he hoped the board could hire the contractors if it decides to buy its buses.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|