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August 01, 2008  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

NSTA: Update on Ohio transit agency's illegal school service


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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National School Transportation Association’s (NSTA) intervention in a deal between the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GDRTA) and Dayton (Ohio) Public Schools (DPS) could lead the school district to outsource some of its transportation services to a school bus contractor.

Last year, NSTA officials filed a complaint with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) after reading that DPS had entered into a $2 million agreement for GDRTA to take over its transport of high school students.

NSTA alleged that GDRTA violated federal regulations by designing limited service routes that bypassed the agency’s regular route system to take students directly from their neighborhoods to their schools in the morning and home in the afternoon, prompting an investigation by the FTA.

NSTA officials last month met with GDRTA and DPS officials in an effort to resolve the situation. During the meeting, the district contended that it cannot afford to operate school bus service for high school students, and GDRTA claimed that it will not provide routes in the fall due to insufficient funding.

In response, NSTA said it will put a hold on its complaint as long as the limited service routes are not operating. Association representative Terry Thomas of Community Bus Service in Youngstown, Ohio, also presented DPS officials with evidence showing that the district can cut its transportation costs by as much as 40 percent through school bus contracting, which would allow it to restore its high school transportation services.

Moreover, Thomas brought in Columbus, Warren and Youngstown school board representatives who attested to the savings generated by outsourcing.

NSTA officials said the district’s business manager conceded that their arguments were compelling and invited the Ohio Bus Association to join a task force that will investigate outsourcing options and make recommendations to the district’s board of education this month.

 


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