Hamilton County School Board votes on bus contractor recommendations
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – In a special called meeting Thursday afternoon, the Hamilton County School Board voted to accept recommendations for a bus contractor.
Nearly everyone voted in favor of the recommended First Student.
“There were a couple things in the proposal from First Student that I particularly liked. I know in my district there were concerns around just being able to have an app that, with a GPS for those buses and just the ease of being able to mesh that with what we have currently,” District 7 School Board Member and Chairman Joe Wingate said.
The process of putting together the request for proposal started in November.
Hamilton County Schools Chief Operations Officer Ken Bradshaw said two vendors submitted proposals, First Student and Durham.
“Whoever would’ve been selected would’ve had to provide transportation for 2500 students. There aren’t very many vendors that can handle that request so we were given the two who were interested and we vetted those two and came up with our recommendation,” Bradshaw said.
The school system currently has a contract with Durham.
But over two years ago, a bus crash killed six Woodmore Elementary Students.
Durham then faced multiple lawsuits.
“We always are looking for maximum value of tax payer dollars, fiscal stewardship, but we also have the reality of having such a significant loss of life. It’s really heartbreaking,” District 6 School Board Member Jenny Hill said.
Some of the board members shared concerns over flexible routes, as well as the cost.
First Student’s proposal is an additional one million dollars compared to Durham.
“Yes, one million dollars is a lot of money, but also we have to look at that’s relative to the size of our budget,” Wingate said.
Moving forward, a contract will be drawn up taking into consideration concerns.
The board will then vote on that possibly in April.