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Transportation News 

 

Board of Education Voted to Privatize Transportation Services

As you know, our transportation department is incredibly important to our students families, staff, district and community.  The department is a critical operation in our mission to provide a great education for our students.  Our transportation colleagues are tasked with providing a safe ride to and from school each day as drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, aides and supervisors.  As we all know, it is our drivers who are the first and the last staff members to see our kids each day.  We have a great deal of respect for their work and the commitment they make as an integral part of CSPS.

Last year a transportation study was done by Excel Consultants in order to look at our costs, our bus fleet, our routing system, etc.  Recommendations were made such as selling some of the old buses and getting a quote on what privatization costs would be compared to having our “in-district” transportation services.  The recommendations were adhered to and the result of the quote for privatization surfaced as a viable and fiscally responsible option for the District.  On Monday, April 24, 2017, the Board of Education voted to privatize transportation services with Dean Transportation.

Prior to bringing forth the concept of privatization, our Transportation Supervisor, Director of Operations, all of our transportation department employees and I worked through a long and important process together.  The process involved meetings together, meetings for our employees to have with Dean Transportation and meetings held with just the transportation department employees as a colleagial group.  All questions our employees wished to have answered were answered with regard to topics such as what a position with Dean would look like, what benefits would be offered versus not receiving benefits or full-time work with CSPS, what retirement in the public system would look like versus what they might gain by working for Dean, etc. Please know that the transportation department employees were in favor of privatization.  The majority asked to privatize and to do so only with Dean.  I brought forth a recommendation to the Board of Education in support of what the department voted for amongst themselves.

Having said that, please know it is not ideal for every transportation employee but rather the great majority; hence, their request to privatize.  We regret that any employee will leave our CSPS if it was not of their choosing.  We value every employee and the time they each have served here.  I am pleased to share that our buses will still have Cedar Springs Public Schools on them (not Dean Transportation) which is something that is very important to all of us.

Dean Transportation comes highly recommended and is committed to hiring on our supervisor, dispatcher and drivers and to making a smooth transition to the 2017-18 school year when they will officially take over.  Your child/ren will see the familiar faces of our drivers as well as they will still be with us but will be employed by Dean.  Additionally, our transportation employees will continue to spend time with us at the end and beginning-of-the-year ceremonies…they are still every bit a part of our great CSPS.

Please know that the savings to the district is approximately $350,000-$400,000/year on-going and a one-time sale of the bus fleet to gain $600,000 as we transition next year.  The budget for next year included 6 new buses at $510,000 that we would have to purchase each year going forward due to our very old fleet. Due to privatization that $510,000 can be removed from the budget planning process. Clearly, the Board considered all the financial information as it will be of benefit to the District to realize these cost savings.  Thank you for your understanding of the decision the Board made and please contact me should you have any questions or concerns.

I want to thank all who participated in the long and thoughtful process to help make this recommendation.  Dean Transportation was so impressed with the way we handled this difficult consideration and decision and the care we offered our employees. Our employees will be in a great company, should they choose to work for Dean.  Dean has a remarkable reputation for how well they treat their employees.   As always, thank you for partnering with us to provide an excellent education for your child.

Sincerely, Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Cedar Springs Public School
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