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Outsourced busing could save Quaker Valley millions

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

By mid-2016, Quaker Valley School District administrators estimate they'll have saved nearly $3 million over a 9-year span by switching to outsourced transportation.

Quaker Valley employed 35.5 bus drivers in 2007 when it began outsourcing transportation services to Richland Township-based Monark Student Transportation, according to district finance and operations Director John Sheline.

The district now employs 16 drivers and expects to have zero on staff for next school year.

School leaders have cited rising retirement costs as a reason administrators began a process of outsourcing.

In 2007, the highest paid bus driver received $36,553, Sheline said. That number increased to $52,778 this year. Overall, Quaker Valley will spend $427,000 on drivers' salaries this year.

Quaker Valley will spend $705,000 this school year on outsourced busing. Next year, that amount increases to $1.6 million, Sheline said.

In addition to employee salaries, Quaker Valley bugeted for other transportation costs.

District leaders spent nearly $91,000 in the 2012-13 transportation budget for maintenance of Quaker Valley's remaining fleet of buses, Sheline said.

“The district had not been replacing buses in recent years, and, therefore, has an older bus fleet,” he said.

“We took great care to ensure that all district-owned buses were safe leading into the 2013-14 school year by performing preventative maintenance.”

Sheline estimates the district could have spent about $2.3 million on transportation this school year had administrators not outsourced transportation. The district will have spent about $1.85 million on transportation.

Through the transition, Sheline said parents and children shouldn't have noticed any changes in service.

“Whether employed by the district or Monark, we consider all bus drivers ‘Quaker Valley bus drivers' and continue to have the same high expectations for performance and service,” Sheline said.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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