The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) is calling on South Carolina to consider school bus contracting as an alternative to the state replacement of its older school bus fleet.
South Carolina Superintendent Molly Spearman recently announced her intent to ask the state Legislature for $95 million to buy 1,000 new school buses. She added that she will also be asking for a $7 million annual increase in school bus purchases and maintenance funding, plus another $2.5 million per year to address employee turnover.
As an alternative to Spearman’s plan, NSTA said that an expansion of school bus contracting in the state could provide an immediate influx of new school buses and save the state’s taxpayers “millions of dollars.”
“Contractors hire district employees, saving the district money, creating job security for employees, and ensuring that traveling children continue to see a familiar driver on their school bus,” NSTA said in a statement. “School bus contractors are ready to assist the state of South Carolina and its school children with the safest and most secure, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective school transportation solutions available.”
For those interested in contracting, NSTA offers a school transportation cost analysis calculator. The resource takes into account such components as salaries and wages, benefits, training and testing, facilities, and vehicles. The calculator can be accessed on the NSTA website.