Monday night’s School Committee meeting resulted in changes on how transportation for students will be run going forward.
The committee agreed to trade in the 72-passenger school buses for two, small 15-passenger vans, that will be responsible for picking up only the students in Grades K-6 who live two miles or more from the school.
“The bottom line is that we are a small district and we really can’t justify having our own buses because it’s not cost-effective,” said School Committee Member Gus Martucci. “We can definitely save money by contracting out the buses and more importantly having our own buses puts a big drain on staff resources. When a driver doesn’t show up, the staff is tasked with finding a backup driver, which is no easy feat and results in additional costs. “
This new transportation policy will also contract out all athletic team buses to Healey Bus Inc. As a third part of the motion, the Viking Pride buses will be given back to Viking Pride. While Viking Pride gave these buses to the school, the town owns them and is accountable for tending to any maintenance issues that may arise. Ultimately this will save the town nearly $40,000, according to Superintendent of Schools Lisa Howard.
If the town kept the standard run bus route, they would need to have the means to provide for 420 eligible students. In order to maintain this route, the town would need to purchase four buses, resulting in $600,000, as each individual bus would cost upwards of $150,000.