The Evesham Township School District is in the process of bidding for a new fleet of buses due to the vehicles’ old age.
In December, the board of education voted to investigate the cost of privatizing bus services.
“We are looking for options. Option A is to buy new buses. Option B would be able to contract it out. I won’t know until we get the information,” Board of Education President Sandy Student told The Sun in December. “If we don’t look to save money, we’re not being responsible.”
The allowable life span of a school bus is 15 years, according to state law.
“Starting with the 2014-15 school year, the district will need to begin to replace approximately 21 buses, at an estimated cost of about $2.1 million. Not all the buses are due to be replaced the same year,” superintendent of schools John Scavelli said.
The district is expected to spend the estimated $2.1 million over a five-year period, only purchasing buses as each one is retired, according to Scavelli.
“This way, the district can monitor enrollment and determine over time if all 21 buses will need replacement,” he said.
Procuring new buses may affect bus drivers in the district.
The board of education has yet to make a decision on keeping currently employed bus drivers, an unnerving idea for parents, explicitly expressed during a December board of education meeting.
During the meeting, parent Melissa Harrison recounted instances of bus drivers going in circles and often getting lost.
Additionally, multiple children were allowed off at the wrong stop. Other drivers arrived up to 25 minutes late.
Currently, 30 percent of Evesham bus drivers are outsourced under Hillman Bus Company, headquartered in West Berlin.
“Those routes, at a minimum, will likely remain contracted,” Scavelli said.
On Friday, Feb. 15, bids for Student Transportation Services for the 2013-14 school year were reported to the district.
“It is too soon to determine [what bids] look best,” Scavelli said. “The administration is working through this process and will present to the board of education and public the results of the bid at the Feb. 28 board meeting.”
The next step after the vote will be to decide if the board should move forward with the bids presented.
The next board of education meeting will be held on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Marlton Elementary School, located at 190 Tomlinson Mill Road.