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Tag Archive | "Dean Transportation"

Bus slides off road


A Cedar Springs Public School bus slid off the road last Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday afternoon, about 3:30, we received a phone call from a passerby that said a school bus had slid into Pine Lake at 17 Mile. Or at least that’s what we thought they said. When we arrived on scene, we were happy to see that was not what had happened. Instead, a bus had slid off the road on 17 Mile, near Pine Lake Ave.

Jerry Gavin, who oversees Cedar Springs Public Schools transportation for Dean Transportation, was at the scene. He said it was a high school bus on the way back from its run and was empty when it slid off the north side of 17 Mile Rd. The bus was towed out of the ditch and the driver was not injured.

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Kids who wrote giraffe book take trip


Last Thursday, September 21, the students and teacher who wrote April’s Baby spent the day at Boulder Ridge Animal Park, in Alto, celebrating their publishing success.

Joining the students, was Corey Dwyer, April the Giraffe’s Zookeeper from Animal Adventure Park in New York. He was so touched by the kids’ book, he wanted to come out and personally meet them and be with them when they met Boulder Ridge’s giraffes up close for the first time.

Despite the heat, everyone had an incredible time, not only with the giraffes, but all the animals as well.

“This was a day of memories that will last a lifetime,” said teacher Vicki Burke. “Corey being here with the kids was the icing on the cake for this incredible project. They watched him so many times taking care of April on the live feed, it was almost surreal when he was standing right in front of them. He was so gracious, spending time answering questions, signing autographs, and taking photos with each student. They were thrilled to be able to meet and spend time with him.”

This opportunity was made possible with gifts from Ryanne Donahue of State Farm Insurance and Jerry Gavin and Dean Transportation. “I am so grateful for everyone who made this day so special,” Burke added. “It was perfect!”

To see or purchase the book, go to www.amazon.com and search for “April’s Baby.”

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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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School board considers privatizing busing


N-Privatization-bus

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday, March 27, to finalize contract issues, and heard information on the possibility of privatizing transportation.

Earlier in March, a split board had voted to issue non-renewals of contracts for high school principal Ron Behrenwald and transportation supervisor Jerry Gavin. Those were rescinded after Behrenwald and the administration agreed on a contract, and Gavin decided to retire from public education. It appears he will likely go to work at Dean Transportation, and do the same job he is doing now with Cedar Springs, if the school chooses to privatize.

The board did vote 5-2 to approve a non-renewal for part time employee Linda Bayink. Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn explained that Linda had been with the school for many years and they couldn’t appreciate her more, but they needed someone full time in that position. She said that Linda understood, and that they were hoped to keep her in the district, and that they were checking out other positions for her. Both Ted Sabinas and Michelle Bayink voted no, with Sabinas saying he didn’t think it was an accurate account.

The board heard a presentation on the possibility of subcontracting busing to Deans Transportation. Dean’s currently buses Cedar Springs special education students, and several area districts also currently use them, including Sparta, Tri County, Muskegon, Reeths Puffer, Grand Rapids, Kent Intermediate School District, and Ottawa Intermediate School District.

VanDuyn said that the same team that currently oversees Cedar Springs transportation would be running it for Dean’s, using the same software, and from the same building they currently work out of. The buses would be housed at Cedar Springs, and Dean’s is willing to hire the drivers.

In January they received an informal quote from Dean’s, then meetings began with the district and the bus drivers. VanDuyn said they wanted the drivers to know what it would look like to be employed by Dean’s, what their pensions would like, etc., so had Dean’s meet with the drivers, then the drivers met with the administration. Then, in a private vote, the bus drivers voted to go with Dean’s. There were 21 drivers present, with 16 voting yes, 3 no, and 2 undecided.

Gavin said that when he started in the 1970s in transportation, it was a whole different type of job—many retirees and others who only needed some part time work took advantage of the job. He said that now, with all the changes, such as training and medical requirements, it’s no longer really part time. “You can’t expect to keep people working split shifts with no insurance and no summer hours. We haven’t been fully staffed for the last 6-10 years.” He also noted their aging bus fleet. “If Dean comes in, we’ll automatically nine buses out,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s the right thing to do at this point.”

Bus driver Rebecca Fisk, who has been with the district for 15 years, spoke to the board on behalf of the bus drivers. She told the board that to be honest, she was going to work for Dean (no matter what they decided). “They have what I need,” she said. She explained how she is supposed to be unassigned—to sub for other drivers—but they are understaffed. “When Obamacare hit, it reduced my hours to 28. It hurt. That’s $300-$400 a month. At Dean’s we can get that,” she said.

The 2016/2017 Transportation Budget is $2,943,208, The 2017/2018 Transportation Budget is set at $3,683,314, which includes six new buses and two mechanics instead of just one, because they cannot keep up with the repairs.

The proposed budget from Dean’s, comparing apples to apples will be $1,774,274. The school will still be responsible for fuel ($270,000) and payments to other schools ($1,146,000), for a total of  $3,190,274. That’s a savings of $493,040.

Dean’s will also purchase their bus fleet at blue book value, which causes a one-time infusion into the budget of $638,600. Between the savings and the purchase of the bus fleet, the school would see a financial impact of $1,132,640.

They also received bids from three others:

Durham bid $1,615,000 plus requiring CSPS to buy buses as follows: 1st yr 12, 2nd yr 1, 4th yr 13.

First Student bid $1,450,000, a generic quote per bus figure but it was verbal only with nothing in writing.

Operation Engineers Local 324 – Operate as they  currently do or $3,683,314 with CSPS running all operations.

Sabinas noted that when he was asked if he could attend the meeting between the administration and the bus drivers, he was told yes (by board president Matt Shoffner) and that later he was told no by VanDuyn.

“I know that I said that,” explained Shoffner, “but I did send an email rescinding that saying that it probably wasn’t the best thing for one of us to be there.”

Sabinas noted that it was a big decision. “We will be remembered as the board that decided,” he remarked.

The board may vote on it at their next meeting on April 24, at 6:45 p.m.

In other action, the board also voted to update facility fees for users within and outside of the community.

For a complete list of items discussed and voted on, visit the school website at www.csredhawks.org. The meetings are also recorded on video, and you can access them through the school website.

 

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