Elizabeth Forward officials: Bus provider breached contract; student transportation in jeopardy
Officials with the Elizabeth Forward School District have filed an injunction against Pennsylvania Coach Lines after, the district claims, the bus company breached their contract and are jeopardizing the transportation for thousands of students when school starts next week.
The district said in a press release that it filed a lawsuit with the of Allegheny County Court against Pennsylvania Coach Lines, also known as PA Coach, to enforce its contract rights.
Officials said in the release that PA Coach notified Elizabeth Forward on Aug. 2 that it will not honor the contract approved by the school board last October and will not transport any Elizabeth Forward students.
According to meeting and voting documents on the district’s website, the school board approved a new contract extending the end date of the transportation agreement with Pennsylvania Coach Lines to June 30, 2023. The agreement was approved Nov. 19, 2008 with an end date of June 30, 2019.
Attempts to contact PA Coach were unsuccessful late Thursday.
The district claims PA Coach hasn’t provided a legitimate explanation for its decision and, if left unchallenged, would result in nearly 2,350 students without district-provided transportation at the start of the school year.
“Over the past two weeks, EFSD has tried unsuccessfully to resolve this matter amicably with PA Coach and avoid litigation,” said Todd Keruskin, superintendent, in the press release. “The result of PA Coach’s action is that thousands of students, including several hundred special needs children, may not have adequate transportation to school which starts Thursday, August 22.”
The district is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, requiring PA Coach to comply with its contractual obligations and transport students in accordance with the contract.
Keruskin said in the release that because the district is 42 square miles, providing bus transportation “is essential” to getting students to school.
The district serves the Elizabeth Borough and Forward and Elizabeth townships in the southernmost region of Allegheny County.
The district will be using its electronic communications system to notify parents and guardians via phone, text and email. The district will also provide updates on its website and social media accounts.