WALL, N.J. — Student Transportation Inc. (STI) has recently completed negotiations for the conversion of three school district transportation systems in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Idaho.

The company defines "conversions" as the shift from publicly operated fleets to a contracted model. The three new, long-term contracts will add over 290 vehicles and increase current fiscal year revenues by $11 million annually, according to STI. The contracts all include annual increases, and two of the three customers will be supplying the fuel for their contracts.

"These conversions are true public-private partnerships,” STI CEO Denis Gallagher said. “We will be operating from the district's facility, hiring the employees into our local family of companies, and increasing the quality, efficiency and communication throughout these transportation systems by providing new technology and training."

While the Pennsylvania and Vermont contracts add to the existing regional density of the company's operations in those states, the largest of the contracts opens up a new state: Idaho.

The West Ada County School District, located just outside Boise in Meridian, Idaho, is the fastest growing and largest school district in the state, according to STI, because recent expansion by technology companies and other businesses in the area has helped spur growth in the region. STI will begin providing service in the 2014-15 school year and, over time, will help the school upgrade its fleet of vehicles.

"West Ada provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase how we work together with our school districts to improve their transportation operations and bring in the necessary new capital for new vehicles," Gallagher added.  "School district-owned fleets across the country continue to get older and the cost to run them is increasingly expensive. The plan here is to use their fleet initially and then begin a transition to our newer fleet over the term of the contract."

Gallagher also said he would like to see more school boards and states leverage a public-private partnership like this that can utilize school-owned facilities combined with the company's expertise and access to capital markets.

STI previously announced new contract awards for the coming school year in California, Pennsylvania and New York.

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