Derby looking into outsourcing school buses to save money

DERBY, Kansas – Officials with Derby public schools are looking into making some changes to help save money. Monday night, the process will formally begin if the board of education moves forward with a request for proposals to see if a private bus company can provide the same service for the district for less money.

“Part of our effort to be as efficient as possible is to ask questions and to make sure that we’ve looked into every possible thing,” said Tom Snodgrass, the district’s director of operations. “Until you ask the question from a bus company as to whether or not they could provide the same service or better at a lesser cost…until you ask the question you don’t know what the answer is.”

According to Snodgrass, the transportation fleet consists of 73 buses and 6 vans that transport nearly 2,000 students on a daily basis. Last year, the school district spent about $1.2 million on transportation, but officials say this isn’t a knee jerk reaction, and they’ll only make the move if it proves to be worthwhile financially.

“It’s going to take more than a few dollars in savings to make a dramatic change like going to a private bus company,” Snodgrass said.

Officials say it won’t be until mid to late March before a recommendation will be made on the change. As far as the impact for actual drivers and other employees that work with the transportation fleet, Snodgrass is confident that if the change is made, many of the employees won’t be out of work for long. “We have an excellent staff already in place,” he said, “so what bus companies typically do it apply their hiring criteria to existing staff and end up hiring most, if not all of them, right back.”

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