WALL, N.J. — Student Transportation of America (STA) has launched a $100-million "Education Stimulus Plan" designed to provide school districts across America with capital to invest back into education when they contract their school bus transportation services to STA.
"We will pay cash for district-owned school transportation fleets and replace older buses with new, state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly vehicles," said Denis Gallagher, STA chairman and CEO. "This creates real jobs for our domestic vehicle manufacturers and provides a cleaner, safer environment for our students and our communities."
The company said it will hire existing and local drivers with competitive compensation packages as well as purchase equipment and supplies from local merchants.
"Nearly 10,000 school districts in the U.S. currently own and operate their own school bus fleets, so our Education Stimulus Plan is specifically designed for them," Gallagher said. "We're asking local and state officials who are struggling with tight budgets to consider our plan."
In Pennsylvania, the Altoona Area School District converted all of its district-owned student transportation service to a contracted operation with STA in 2006.
Of the conversion Superintendent Dr. Dennis Murray said, "STA purchased our fleet and parts inventory with cash. They pay rent for our facilities and parking, creatively helped keep our full-time staff and their compensation packages and hired the majority of our former drivers to create a seamless transition. We absolutely feel that we made the right decision to privatize our pupil transportation system."
STA said it recently completed a similar "stimulus plan" for taxpayers in Williamsport, Pa., which local school officials said will save residents $3.5 million over five years. The company purchased the district's fleet for $1 million, invested an additional $1 million in new vehicles and hired 90 percent of the district's existing drivers and staff. Conversions were also completed in Illinois and California.
"These are trying times, and creative ideas are needed to keep our education system funded," Gallagher said. "Our plan lowers costs, stimulates the economy and increases tax revenues."
For more information on the STA Education Stimulus Plan, e-mail stimulus@rideSTA.com, call (888) 942-2250 or visit www.rideSTA.com.