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BOE Says New School Bus Contract Saves Money

School officials say the new five-year contract with First Student will save more than $500,000 in the first year.


The Ridgefield Board of Education approved a new school bus contract Monday that officials say will save about $500,000 next year and continue saving money through the 2018-19 school year.

Board of Education Business Manager Paul B. Hendrickson said the First Student bus company won the contract with what he called “a very aggressive bid.” Three other companies also submitted bids in November.

Even in the fifth year of the First Student contract, the cost for school buses would be less than it is this year, Hendrickson said.

First Student, a national company, is headquartered in Cincinnati. Currently, Baumann & Sons, a Long Island-based company, provides transportation for the Ridgefield schools.

Board of Education Chairman Austin Drukker said the savings would go for educational purposes.

The Ridgefield school district currently needs 30 school buses and 15 vans for a 181-day school year.

School Superintendent Deborah Low’s budget request for 2013-14 lists the cost for transportation at $4,906,283, which is $514,221 less than the $5,420,504 budgeted for transportation in the current school year’s budget.

Kerri Kneip Austin January 17, 2013 at 01:43 PM
While I don't care about the company, this is very sad to me because I assume it means my children will lose their bus driver, whom they LOVE and whom I love. She is so great with them and we have been blessed with her.
Matthew Haddon January 17, 2013 at 01:52 PM
most bus drivers transfer to the new company. I have been in the bus industry for many years and 90% of the time the Drivers stay on with the new company
facts_count January 17, 2013 at 05:52 PM
About the elephant sitting on the coach.... I think there are many lessons to be learned in this new $500,000 savings. First, people should ask why there is suddenly savings. Did the cost of gas go down? Not that I know of. Did the cost of labor go down? Not that I know of. So how is it that this newest contract can cost less? I have it from the mouth of a BOE member, it's because Ridgefield overpaid on the last bus contract. Seeing this sudden savings backs that up. So in other words, the BOE in the past paid out too much of your money. This should be cause of great concern to all residents and I think needs to be better explained to residents. Next, it's been shown in the recent past that Westport is roughly the same size as Ridgefield and had about the same number of students and as it turns out, had EXACTLY the same number of buses and vans. And yet their bus contract was about $1 million less (or about 20% less) than RIdgefield's. As much as I'm glad to see a saving of $500,000 in Ridgefield, I think we need to investigate why our contract is still much more than Westport is paying. Where is the maverick BOE member who is going to grab hold of these questions and get answers?
Thomas Soukup January 17, 2013 at 07:02 PM
TO:Facts Count You make a great point !!!! This reminds me of the 4.3 Million CL&P overcharged the town when they "set the meters incorrectly" back in 2003.
Sharon Angevine Scott January 18, 2013 at 11:38 PM
I hope the new company does not plan on saving money by cutting pay and benefits the drivers currently get.

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