Q: Is there any difference between public and private school bus drivers?
A: All drivers, public or private, are equally qualified and must meet the same state and federal licensing standards to drive a school bus in their state.
Q: Are private contractors more qualified when it comes to school bus transportation?
A: Private contractors meet or exceed state wide training standards as they operate using the highest standards required. Many school districts do the minimum ‘required only’ training due to limited resources.
Q: Who will be driving the contracted buses?
A: Private contractors hire local residents and existing local district school bus drivers, who pay taxes and often have children attending local schools. Both district and contractor drivers have but one goal to transport the children of the district safely each day. More times than not, they are the same drivers!
Q: Are the contracted buses safe and well-maintained
A: Private contractor and district school buses must meet the same maintenance standards set by their respective states. Private contractors set the highest preventative maintenance standards for their fleets.
Q: Are contracted buses older or newer models than public buses?
A: Private contractor fleets are newer, on average, than district fleets due to the utilization of industry lifecycle replacement schedules for their vehicles, whereas, district fleet replacement is usually subject to budget constraints, BOE approval and or voter approval. As such, districts have difficulty in maintaining a replacement schedule when economic times become difficult.
Q: How does contracting help a school district?
A: Private contracting eliminates the district’s’ labor management issues. Private contractors must provide services based on the standards set by the district in the contract agreement. District operations have to deal with grievances and employee contract negotiations, whereas that is not an issue for the district when they contract for services. Districts can have a contracted driver removed from their district at any time for any justifiable reason. Many Superintendents have stated they have ‘fewer headaches’ with contracted transportation services and can spend their time on educational issues.