The Warren County School System is considering outsourcing its entire Transportation Department to a private company.
The move would relieve the school system of buying buses, hiring drivers, paying for fuel, and all other costs associated with busing students.
School officials have heard proposals from two private companies about taking over Transportation Department duties. According to Director of Schools Dr. Jerry Hale, the companies claim they can save the school system money and pay bus drivers more.
“They both said they can save us money and would be willing to take our employees on,” said Hale. “They said the employees can make more, plus they can provide them insurance and retirement. That’s the proposals as they’ve been presented. It sounds good, but we will have to see.”
The two companies are Durham Bus Services and Trans Group. They are both full-service student transportation providers.
While Dr. Hale is not favoring one company over the other, he said he talked to school officials in Hamilton County and says they are well pleased with Durham Bus Services, which operates in 30 states.
This year’s school system transportation budget is $1.7 million for operating buses on 56 routes, according to Hale. Last year’s budget was $2 million because that included the purchase of buses.
Going with a private company would mean the school system would not have to buy and maintain buses. That would still be done, just by the private company. The school system’s buses could be sold or leased if the School Board decides to enter a contract with one of the companies.
Hale says the private companies contend they can save the school system money because they deal in such greater volume when it comes to buses, bus parts, and fuel. He says GPS devices would be placed on every bus to ensure to most efficient routes are being used. He also said a device is placed on buses to make they automatically shut off if they idle more than five minutes to save fuel.
The School Board is expected to consider proposals from both companies at its next regular meeting April 28.