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Trinity Area renews school bus contract

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Familiar yellow buses will pick up Trinity Area students for the first day of school on Wednesday.

School board members this month approved a deal to extend school bus contracts with GG&C and Schweinebraten, the Washington-based bus companies that have served the district for decades. GG&C last year sued the district in Washington County Common Pleas Court to prevent its board from signing a contract with another company.

“I think what the school board did was acknowledge there is a contract,” Richard Kelly, a Montgomery County lawyer representing GG&C, said on Friday.

That company, owned by John Lenzner, has transported Trinity students through no-bid contracts since 1967. State law does not require public bids for bus contracts.

Superintendent Paul Kasunich and School Board President Jennifer Morgan could not be reached for comment.

GG&C handles 22 of the district's routes. Schweinebraten handles 11. Their contracts expired on June 30.

Under the arrangements, both companies will provide the same services for the 2013-14 school year as they did under the 2012-13 contracts, Kelly said. He did not know how much the companies were paid last year.

Trinity paid the two companies $11.6 million from 2007 to 2012.

GG&C earned more than $8.2 million for daily bus routes plus extracurricular activities, state records show. Schweinebraten collected nearly $3.4 million during the same period for bus routes and similar services.

School board members voted 5-3 with one abstention in April to award First Student Inc., based in Cincinnati, a five-year contract worth $8.86 million.

GG&C originally submitted a five-year bid that amounted to $9.1 million. Three post-deadline clarifications resulted in a bid of $8.7 million for all daily routes, not including extracurriculars.

In March, GG&C and Schweinebraten offered to continue serving the school district this academic year should the lawsuit cause an impasse, Kelly said. The companies transported more than 100 students over the summer, he said, and have helped the district map routes for this year.

Kelly said the bus companies hope the coming year will offer a chance to further negotiate with the district.

“We've made proposals,” he said. “Candidly, I think the differences between the two sides isn't all that great.”

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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