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Trenton School Board Votes to Outsource Busing

District busing has been outsourced in Trenton, but what does that mean for the current staff of over 20 drivers?

After six months of consideration, members voted unanimously to Monday night at the regularly scheduled board of education meeting.

Budget conditions and an aging bus fleet were blamed for the decision.

The recommendation came after months of research and analyzing from the three former superintendent interns Vince Porreca, principal at ; Stephanie O'Connor, principal at and Rodney Wakeham, assistant principal at

Three transportation companies were considered to take over all district busing, including staff, and the former interns selected Lansing based Dean Transportation.

Wakeham and Porreca were at the meeting to give board members a final assessment of transportation costs.

Porreca said the major issue facing Trenton Public Schools is an ailing bus fleet. The district could not afford to replace the current fleet at about $90,000 for each new bus.

District officials will now begin meeting with officials from Dean Transportation to draw up a contract, which Porreca said will include guaranteed bus maintenance at no additional cost.

The district currently offers full-service busing including general education, special education, mid-day busing, field trips and athletic events. As of now, there are no anticipated changes to district transportation.

Last year, , but additional tax revenue allowed board members to reinstate busing for one year.

All of TPS's over 20 bus drivers will have the opportunity to interview with Dean Transportation in order to keep their current jobs and seniority, but compensation is no longer decided by TPS.

Porreca said the recommendation was based on budget restraints and not TPS's bus drivers.

"Under no circumstances do we believe that our current bus service ... has ever done anything except operate with the highest standards and that's evident throughout the entire transportation department," Porreca said.

Dean Transportation specializes in busing for school districts throughout Michigan and across the country.

Dean Transportation has twice been named the top school bus company in North America and was recently awarded two environmental awards for its commitment to clean transportation, according to the Dean Transportation website.

Nate Stemen (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 01:25 PM
What do you think about the decision to outsource transportation at Trenton Public Schools?
Jennifer Carone-Hanna June 26, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I just hope those drivers can keep their jobs......
Eva Deck June 26, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Do the bus drivers at Dean Transportation get pension and medical benefits?
Bob the Builder June 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Dean does offer medical...for a price. Combine the weekly deduction with the lower salary they pay and there isn't much left for your family. For a TPS driver to get medical now, you must have a bid run of at least 6 hours a day. That 'qualifies' you to PURCHASE your medical at the price of $2.70 an hour. And that is for EVERY hour you work, not just your bid hours. So every night and Saturday trip you take you must pay the $2.70 per hour also. And there is a monthly fee of around $35 on top of that. This year there was only 1 driver that qualified for medical. And to clear up another misconception, TPS drivers do not get paid time and a half for Saturday or night trips. The driver must have worked over 8 hours in that day, or 40 hours for the week. It is rare for a TPS driver to get overtime. With "downtime" (time not actually driving) most drivers spend their Saturday earning $10 per hour.

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