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Superintendent: Starting District Busing a 'Challenging Proposition'

The Bristol Township School District is looking into operating its own school buses.

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.

Tom Sofield December 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Do you think this could solve the district's busing problems?
Tom Sofield December 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Comments from users on our Facebook page (http://facebook.com/levittownpatch): "I hope so and i hope they put bus stops BACK in the neighborhoods. First Student has been terrible!!!" - Shannon McGuigan-Jarvis "I thought 14 passenger vans were deemed unsafe about 5 years ago??? Also buses cost on average about $100,000 EACH, and BTSD needs a minimum of 61??? And BTSD wants to build 3 huge elementary school, renovate Armstrong and Franklin and Truman on top of the buses??? Where o where is this money coming from????" - Cathy Newman "I think the school board needs to be drug tested! There is a huge portion of residents in Bristol Twp that either are unemployed or on some sort of financial assistance. So how much more do you think that those of us who are fortunate enough to have a job and paying the taxes will stand for this. They are dancing with the Devil." - Stuart Davis
bill heiser December 10, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I pay out alot for these school taxes and believe it or not neshaminy bensalem have lower school taxes and bus their students and have a higher district rating then bristol I believe buying their own buses would open up jobs and their would be a need for people to proberly take care of the buses which is more jobs I know a lot of my neighbors are mad about paying so much for taxes when we pay the same amount as for someone who goes to council rock I think a big problem is people that rent apartments and houses they don't pay the taxes and their kids go to school maybe making then pay something would help and redoibg schools isn't doing anything but wasting money spend the money on better teachers and learning supplies and help the kids be at the same level as the surrounding districts
Edward O'Donnell December 10, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Pay the parents to give a crap. New buses, cutting edge schools, and a glamorous district identity is not needed to produce productive adults. I feel no matter how much money could be thrown at the situation, little positive effect will come. And watching kids (giving they are high school) walking Haines and Edgely every dark morning just isn't right... I could care less if everyone in Farm/Green/Stonybrook needs to walk to Fitch. We've been doing it since Kindergarten-
barbara nicholson December 11, 2012 at 12:41 AM
we had our own buses at one time why did we get rid of them that was not to smart
Virginia moran December 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Put money into what you are already saying you are doing. Probiding proper education is cheaper than the lengths bristol township will go to pretend they are teaching. And new buildings and expensive bueracracy needed to make it appear that education is actually happening is a waste. Just put money into giving the teachers the tools and the time to do what is written in iep's and lesson plans!!!
Sonshine December 11, 2012 at 02:56 PM
BTSD had its own buses and with the unions and demands of the bus drivers BTSD was forced to sell all it buses and hence we have what we have. Going back to what we had is not the answer. Dr. Lee is playing games with unions which will not benefit the students.
Sonshine December 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM
The only way to solve the BTSD's problems is to get ride of the bad management it has now and go back to basics. Get ride of this School board and changes will follow. The problem is no alternatives ideas are allowed to surface and you will never hear them being proposed. We need new ideas not old ones.
Sonshine December 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
The costs where prohibitive when you take into account the additional workers pensions and benefits, the cost of new buses and the maintance of the fleet and insurance; that is why we got ride of all of that in the first place. Dr. Lee doesn't tell you what impact such a start up would have on your property taxes. Its time to replace Dr. Lee and his magic show come School board elections.

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