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Bus staff to work weekend ahead of Quaker Valley's first day

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, 3:39 p.m.

As Quaker Valley students prepare to return to class Monday and Tuesday, transportation staff are working the weekend to help answer questions before buses start again.

“During the first week of each school year, buses tend to run late,” district spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said in an email. She said some buses — especially elementary school afternoon buses — run up to 30 minutes late. “Our school staff takes extra time and care at dismissal to ensure that our students board the correct bus in the afternoon.”

Vojtko said gradual improvements are made as the week progresses.

Quaker Valley families received bus transportation letters this week in the mail, she said.

Familes with questions are asked to contact transportation manager John Demkowicz at 724-318-8535 or demkowiczj@qvsd.org .

This year marks the first time in school history the district's bus service fully is outsourced.

Citing cost savings, Quaker Valley leaders over the last several years have transitioned from in-house busing to service contracted through Monark Student Transportation.

By mid-2016, administrators have estimated 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 data.

Superintendent Heidi Ondek said the district has been meeting with Monark staff to prepare for the year.

“Parents have a lot of natural anxiety if children are not coming home on time. It's typical,” she said “The first week, everyone expects there to be some lag. And that's for safety and to make sure everyone knows the routine. After a week, it kind of levels out.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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