Iowa School District Opts for Bus Privatization to Save Money

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The Des Moines Register is reporting that an Iowa school district will hire Student Transportation of America to provide transportation for students next school year and save an expected $3.3 million over the next five years.

Johnston School District has studied the issue for months, and school board members made the move after reviewing information from union officials and district administrators. Previously, the district estimated it would save about $50,000 a year by outsourcing transportation, but new data submitted during a school board meeting this week uncovered further savings.

The single biggest item was reportedly $2.9 million the district said it expects to save by not replacing 45 school buses over the next five years. The district could also make about $1.4 million by selling its existing buses to the company.

The county spent approximately $3.1 million on student transportation during the 2015 fiscal year. It operates a fleet of 75 buses and employs about 60 drivers.

“We are not a transportation company,” said the school board president . “The district is an educational organization. In my opinion, we need to bring someone in that’s a professional transportation organization to better service our clients, which are the children of the district.”

Johnston School District is STA’s first contract win in the state of Iowa.