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August 23, 2012  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Districts join forces, cut costs

Winton Woods City School District and Finneytown Local School District in Cincinnati share their transportation services, including buses, routes and fueling stations. In sharing special-education service alone, the operations have each saved about $25,000.

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Winton Woods City School District and Finneytown Local School District, both in Cincinnati, have been sharing transportation services since the 2011-12 school year.

Winton Woods City School District and Finneytown Local School District, both in Cincinnati, have been sharing transportation services since the 2011-12 school year.

For Cincinnati-based districts Winton Woods City School District and Finneytown Local School District, sharing their transportation services has yielded “considerable” cost savings, according to Transportation Director Kristi Hooper. The districts are heading into their second year of shared service under a contract that was signed in June.

Hooper joined Winton Woods’ transportation department in 1994. Pete Japikse — now Ohio’s state pupil transportation director — was her supervisor. Hooper took over as the district’s transportation director in 2000. Since the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, she has also overseen school bus transportation service for Finneytown.

“I took the position because it was something new and different, and I wanted a challenge,” she says.
 
Shared buses, route service and more   
Finneytown fuels its buses at Winton Woods’ facility, which Hooper says has reduced the district’s fuel costs by $10,000 since the drivers don’t have to fill up at local gas stations.   

The districts have covered each other’s routes and field trips as well, and when they share services they charge one another half the amount. Hooper says she has learned a lot of business-related skills as a result of overseeing and managing both operations — how to borrow a bus, how to bill for service, etc.

“We set a fee based on some of our T2 expenses, and we do a quarterly billing,” Hooper explains. 

Transportation personnel from Winton Woods City School District checked buses over the summer and prepared for state inspection.
<p>Transportation personnel from Winton Woods City School District checked buses over the summer and prepared for state inspection.</p>
The districts each maintain a service department, but they assist one another when necessary for bus maintenance.

“We’ve saved considerable money by sharing our out-of-district special-ed service this year,” Hooper adds. “There’s a third district that we’re working with — North College Hill City Schools — for this service, and I would say that Winton Woods saved at least $25,000, and that the other districts saved about the same amount of money.” 

Winton Woods and Finneytown also do combined drug and alcohol testing and driver physicals onsite at one location, and Finneytown pays a portion of Hooper’s salary. 

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