As the final school year of bus operator First Student and the Bristol Township School District's five-year contract chugs along, the district is looking at several different options for next school year.
While negotiations with First Student have gone less than stellar, Superintendent Samuel Lee said the district is looking at starting their own bus service. He quickly noted that "no plans were definite" and the district would work to "do right by the students."
Lee said if the district were to take over busing of all students in the 2013-2014 school year, a minimum of 61 buses would have to be purchased to cover all the routes. The superintendent was unclear of what the cost to taxpayers would be and called it a "challenging proposition."
Currently, the district owns and operates seven white vans that transport students, in addition to the yellow school buses that First Student operates for the district. The purchase of more vans is expected to be discussed at the school board's next meeting.
The district cut the amount of bus routes from 95 to 61 for this school year. The cuts - which were estimated to have saved more than a $1 million - angered many parents who said at
School officials by October said that most of the issues had been taken care of.
Transportation director Marianne Cleary resigned in November after being the target of many residents' complains. The district's official statement said that she left and had accepted a position closer to her Upper Bucks County home.
Lee said the search for a new transportation director is underway and public notice was recently sent out.
Staff of the district's transportation department and business Administrator John Steffy have temporarily filled Cleary's former role and are doing an "exceptional" job, Lee said.