At the Monday, Jan. 11 Board of Education Meeting, the Board gave the district permission to bring a company recommendation to them in Feb. regarding contracting transportation services. Transportation has been a discussion in our district for the past two years. Here are the five primary goals that were set when exploring contracting transportation services:
- Achieve a seamless transition from District to contracted services
- Allow current District transportation staff every opportunity to become Contractor employees
- Make a fiscally responsible decision; cost is very important, but not the sole factor
- Maintain or exceed safety and quality of current operation
- Attain cost savings, including but not limited to, sharing costs with surrounding Districts through the same contractor.
We have found the following advantages to contracting transportation services:
- Increase number of staff within the department
- Address driver shortage
- Increase pay for transportation employees
- Increase access to benefits for drivers (20-hour min.)
- Potential for career advancement
- New buses & higher levels of technology
- Enhance service to district at the same or possibly lower cost
- Customer Service
Some disadvantages to contracting are:
- Employees may not be able to remain in the state retirement system (KPERS)
- Transitional challenges
- At the end of 5 years, the contractor will own some of our buses
Here are answers to some of our Frequently Asked Questions:
- It is possible to get back into the transportation business if this doesn’t work out.
- We retain control. Andover will still decide:
- Fee structure for transportation
- Number of routes we offer
- If we want to bus students under 2.5 miles from school
- Number of activity trips
- Number & length of bus routes
- The buses will still say “Andover Public Schools” on the side.
- We encourage the company to hire our current employees.
- Employees could see a raise in pay & enhanced access to benefits.
- Transportation services will still be housed at current location on Andover Rd.
The next step in this process is to meet face-to-face with the companies selected as finalists to better understand their contracts and answer any questions we may have. On Feb. 8, a recommendation will be made to the Board of Education and they will vote on the matter.
If you have any questions about this process or haven’t found an answer to any of your transportation questions, please contact the District Office at 316-218-4660.