Questions and Answers about Bus Transportation Contract
Q. Why is the TRSD School Board exploring transportation costs?
A. It would be financially imprudent not to review all district expenditures. Transportation costs the district $505,000.00 annually. At this time the district is gathering information from our current providers as well as other companies and districts in an effort to explore any cost-savings measures that might be financially prudent to adopt.
Q. Was this the Superintendent’s idea so she could have more control over our independent drivers?
A. The Superintendent notified the board of a need to update the transportation contract created in 1978. The busing contract states: “The District Administrator shall provide the TRSD School Board an annual evaluation of the bus contracting services of the District.” While the Superintendent assists the Board by providing data and statistics regarding services and costs, it is the Board that makes the final decision regarding any contract.
Q. Does the School Board realize how satisfied many parents are with the current busing system and how concerned we are about how changes could impact our community?
A. The School Board is in agreement that having local contractors employed in our district is appealing. The School Board also understands that it is their obligation to weigh the financial impact of any service to the district and to provide accountability to all community members.
Q. How long is our current contract in place for?
A. The term of the current Agreement is in place until the end of the 2014-2015 school year. The last three years of the Agreement, years 2012-2015, are designated years to negotiate the next contract. Changes in language must be mutually agreed upon and compensation for services is negotiated at the same time and would be in force for the remaining three years of the Agreement.
Q. Can the School Board Members openly discuss the independent contracts?
A. The School Board will listen to comments; however, the School Board will not be responding to questions posed nor will it be making a statement or decision at school board meetings as Transportation Services are still being negotiated. Due to the open meetings law, the School Board cannot address specific terms being negotiated.
Q. Is the School Board going to let the community help make decisions or will it solely be their decision?
A. The Board is following the contractual agreement which states the contract “shall continue in full force through the 2014-15 school year”. In preparation for the end of one contract and beginning of a new contract, the Board has begun the process by holding discussion sessions with contractors where all cost cutting measures will be discussed. In addition, the Board is gathering information and costs from other transportation providers. At this time there are no public sessions planned, however, the Board is always available to listen to comments or questions from community members but would be negligent in violating any open meetings act or contact negotiations discussions.
Q. Are there any concerns with the current busing contract?
A. The current language in the transportation contract has not been modified since 1978, while financial reimbursement has continued to rise with each new contract. The School Board has an obligation to assure the entire TRS community that the transportation system is operating in an efficient, cost effective and safe manner consistent with the similar acceptable standards within the State.
Q. How do we contact our School Board Members?
A. Each Board Member has an email address which is located on the District Home Page under Board Members. If you wish to contact them via mail or phone, each member lives within the community or you may contact the District Office for more information.