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D113A Bus Drivers Plead for Public's Voice on Transportation Outsourcing

The district's current bus drivers are concerned outsourcing the schools' transportation would have a negative impact on students.

School bus drivers for District 113-A have their routes memorized. They know each student who plods onto the bus—by name, even.

That's something you don't necessarily see when just any driver is behind the wheel of the bus that carts your child to and from school each day, they say. The group is asking parents to speak to the importance of keeping transportation in-house, as the Board of Education mulls the possibility and affordability of outsourcing the service. 

The board has received three bids, and two different school bus companies up for consideration. The district employs 21 people for its student transportation services, and leases the buses used.

Board President Cindy Kelly has said the district is considering the option as a way to offset cuts in state funding.

A shift in bus service would mean changes for students, said bus driver Amanda Samanich. Many of the bus drivers have been with the district for 20 or more years, she said. 

"They wouldn't have a routine driver. They'd have different bus numbers," she said. "It's a lot of inconsistency for the kids."

It's uncertain what would happen to the department's employees, if the board decides to go with an outside provider. 

"Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of your children," the bus drivers wrote in an email to Patch.

A presentation on the bids will take place at the board's Feb. 19 meeting, at 7 p.m. at Old Quarry Middle School. Samanich was told the drivers will know their future employment status as of March 1.

The group encourages parents to attend the meeting and voice their opinion. 

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Carrie Janeckie February 17, 2014 at 03:26 PM
No I can not just check a bus. If the address that my children are registered to is 1.50 miles or under there is no bus service given to them. They are expected to walk or I must drive them. As you probably see the sidewalk along 127th has yet to be touched by a shovel this winter, so a safe passage to school is clearly not a concern. So if its not the #1 priority for some kids, it not fair to make it #1 priority for others. You cant just play the child safety card, at you will.
tom knopinski February 18, 2014 at 04:08 PM
To taxpayers/parents within SD113A Not know is that SD113A is not mandated to provide transportation. Being serve by Pace, district may save $'s with by-passing student transportation, i.e. saving taxpayer dollars. Awareness! Semper Paratus For further information, please contact the district business office during normal hours.

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