Brockton Public Schools (BPS) recently received a delivery of its first school buses as the district prepares to bring the majority of its transportation services in-house for the 2021-22 school year.
The delivery included a total of 64 buses — 10 full-size school buses equipped with air conditioning, 45 29-passenger half-size buses, seven half-size wheelchair accessible buses, and two 35-passenger half-size buses, according to a news release from BPS. The $5.4 million-purchase reportedly comes after months of discussion and votes by both the Brockton School Committee and the Brockton City Council.
"After years of relentless budget cuts, we know the importance of stretching every dollar and making sure we are using taxpayer funds in the most responsible way possible," Michael P. Thomas, BPS superintendent, said in the release.
By bringing transportation operations in-house, city and school district officials believe the city will save $500,000 during fiscal year 2022 and up to $2 million in the years that follow, according to BPS.
The district said the transportation department will also bring new jobs to the city. BPS is currently hiring 82 employees, including 75 bus drivers and two mechanics, who will oversee operations.
“The bus drivers, mechanics and dispatch staff will be full-time city employees and will have full benefits, such as dental, health insurance, and a pension,” Mayor Robert F. Sullivan said in the release. “Following more than a year of financial uncertainty for many families, we are thrilled to be able to add to our team and bring more good union jobs to the City of Brockton.”
As of the 2020-21 school year, Brockton worked with 75 different providers to transport BPS students and local charter school, private school, and vocational school students. While some of the district’s transportation needs will continue to be filled by outside vendors, the district said it intends to grow its transportation department each year.
“If leading a city and a school district through years of tough budget seasons and the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we need to be willing to think differently,” Mark D’Agostino, vice chair of the school committee, added in the release. “The new BPS transportation department is a perfect example of how the mayor’s office, school committee, and city council work together to move our city forward.”
View additional photos of Brockton Public Schools' new buses, posted on the district's Facebook page, below.