PALMER, Mass. — Palmer Public Schools will continue to utilize a school bus contractor to provide transportation service for its students after the district’s school committee voted 3 to 1 last week against Business Manager Thomas Charko’s proposal to provide the service in-house.
Charko said switching to district-provided pupil transportation would save $62,000 this year, and that school-owned buses could have been parked at one or more of the district’s school campuses.
He also said they could have set up a fueling area at the high school, but several bus drivers and a union leader expressed concerns about the plan, asking what would happen to their jobs and negotiated benefits if the district took over the bus operation, The Republican reports.
James St. Amand, vice chairperson of the school committee, told the news source after the meeting, “I did not see any long-term savings versus the present situation.” The key issue for him was “the longevity of the buses.” St. Amand said how long they last is “really a roll of the dice.”
The district will solicit bids from bus companies to provide transportation service, as its current contract with First Student Inc. expires in June.