Should the county continue using Durham busing or look for alternative?
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — With the Durham School Bus contract ending this summer the financial committee had to decide whether to add on an extension to the $45 million contract or not.
Currently, Durham provides 191 buses out of the 240 bus fleet that is currently in use in Hamilton County.
The other 49 being owner operated.
If the board decides to get rid of the service, some major cuts could be made.
“We don’t provide them for charters, we don’t provide them for the stem schools… those are schools you have to apply for and really want your child to go to to get in there same thing with magnet schools and if you go through all of that to put your child there, you should be willing to provide their transportation,” says District 1 school board member Rhonda Thurman.
Besides cutting out some transportation for certain schools, another option was presented.
“Immediately open up these positions for independent drivers , open up some special ed routes for independent drivers for this coming year and make this RFP a two year proposal,” says David Testerman, District 8 school board member.
Rhonda Thurman suggested, “Eliminate some routes, I know some of the routes are not very efficient from what I hear some of the bus drivers they can be done a whole lot more efficiently, cutting out some more routes. Those are the kinds of things this board needs to look at, what is our responsibility?”
That question comes with even more questions like can the board put out a proposal that is attractive enough for owner operated buses.
Can they offer enough benefits for employees so standards can be raised? Or if they choose to extend Durham what changes will have to be made to satisfy everyone.
David Testerman added, “Everybody’s got to contribute to this thing about children being safe.. teachers, principles, everybody.”
The school board must give respondents 4 to 5 weeks to submit proposals.