HomeWire ReportsLong-Term Costs Dominate Connecticut School Bus Talks

Long-Term Costs Dominate Connecticut School Bus Talks

The Montville Connecticut Board of Education is looking to privatize its bus services to save money, but officials say long-term expenses have to be taken into account before the move is made, according to the Bulletin

The school board issued a request for proposals from the state’s student transportation contractors last month. Under the request, the winning bidder would take ownership of the town’s fleet, potentially leaving the school district in a fix if the relationship ever grows strained, Mayor Ron McDaniel said.

“It remains to be seen whether or not this would actually save money for the town,” he said. “(The school district) would have to sell their buses to the contracting company. So at the end of the contract, when it comes time to renew, the contractor would have an upper hand.”

Montville is one of a dozen school districts in Connecticut still with its own bus fleet, according to Connecticut School Transportation Association data. The fleet boasts 44 vehicles, including 35 buses valued at about $2.3 million.

Montville Superintendent Brian Levesque was unavailable for comment on several occasions, but said during a Dec. 20 meeting that the school board would move ahead with its request for proposal as rising health insurance costs are expected to eat into the school district’s budget.

The school board budgeted about $2.6 million for student transportation during the 2016-17 academic year, its most recent budget shows.

The deadline for bus companies to submit their proposals is Jan. 27.

Other potential benefits of such a deal include greater tax revenue for the town and decreased liability for the school district, according to the proposal. The town’s current drivers would also be given preferential hiring consideration under any deal struck.

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