IRVING, Texas — A school district here has selected First Student to provide school bus service to approximately 6,500 students for the 2018-19 school year and beyond.
The school bus company will manage and operate all student transportation services for Irving Independent School District (ISD) as part of a five-year contract. Irving ISD currently contracts with school bus agency Dallas County Schools (DCS).
“Student safety is our top priority,” said Jose L. Parra, Irving ISD’s superintendent of schools. “We are confident First Student will deliver the high-quality transportation services we expect, while continuously looking at ways to make the experience even better for our students who ride the bus.”
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, Dallas County voters opted to shut down DCS in November due to problems with finances, business dealings, and performance. With DCS being dissolved, Irving ISD had the option to manage its own transportation system or partner with an outside vendor to provide bus service, according to the school district's website.
DCS drivers who are currently serving the district are being offered the opportunity to join First Student. The company is raising starting wages for drivers to $17.95 an hour and offering a $1,500 sign-on bonus. First Student plans to hire more than 180 employees, including drivers, bus monitors, mechanics, and staff to support Irving ISD.
Irving ISD will continue service with DCS through July, and First Student will assume operations on Aug. 1.
“We look forward to working closely with Irving ISD and appreciate the trust administrators have in us,” said Liz Sanchez, senior vice president at First Student. “We are committed to using our insights, expertise, and resources to provide the best start and finish to the school day for the students and families we serve.”
First Student has five locations in the state, with more than 25,000 students in Texas currently riding its buses, according to the company.