Outsourcing School Transportation
Marion County school leaders are talking about privatizing their school bus service, and drivers hope they leave the plan in the rearview mirror.
"It's foolish business, it's absolutely foolish business," said Bridget Pace, a bus driver in Marion County.
School bus drivers were the one's taking a seat in Marion county Thursday morning, making a stop at a school board work session meeting.
"This is just another idea, it's simply bringing information forth to the board," said Kevin Christian, spokesperson for Marion County Public Schools.
School district administrators' idea: outsourcing transportation to save money.
"The benefits include a lower cost of employees, lower cost of capital investment in terms of having to buy the buses and the lower cost to maintain those buses," said Christian.
According to school officials, having a private contractor transport the county's 29,000 students to and from school would reduce the $19 million they're spending now by up to $4 million.
For drivers, privatization could mean losing their benefits, and taking a cut in pay; an idea at least one board member isn't sold on just yet.
"What I'm concerned about is when you're just talking dollars and cents, you may be taking a look at cutting quality and I don't want to put any children at risk," said board member Ron Crawford.
The district will present a proposal to board members before their next meeting in April, one that will include figures from potential private companies, and how current bus drivers would be affected.
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