Service to resume with new bus contract
BY GLENN ROHRBACKER
The William Floyd School District Board of Education approved a new contract with First Student, which will provide large bus service to over 8,000 students. First Student already has a relationship with Local 252, the union that was unsatisfied with the changes brought by Acme Bus Corp., a division of Baumann & Sons Bus Co.
This is the second contract the district has approved this summer, after East End Bus lines backed out of their five-year agreement after two years, requesting the district pay an additional $16 million for the same services. Acme was not able to reach an agreement with Local 252, forcing the district to operate without any large bus transportation the first week of school. District officials expect systems to return to normal on Sept. 17 after First Student works to collect the necessary resources.
The new contract will cost the district $1.7 million in additional funds, compared to the Acme contract. The district is planning to file a lawsuit against East End Bus Lines to make up for the difference in the contracts. Officials said 80 percent of the additional cost is refundable through aid next year. A stipulation of agreement was also signed at the board meeting between William Floyd and Acme that allows them to back out of their bid for the large bus contract. Acme claimed to spend over $10 million on new buses to service the district, and it is unclear what will happen with their new fleet. First Student did not respond to a request for comment.
“I wanted to take a brief moment to thank the entire William Floyd community for coming together during this time and pitching in, whether it be carpooling with neighbors, being patient during the extra time it took to drop off and pick up your children or in any variety of ways,” said superintendent Kevin Coster in a message to the district. “I know this situation has not been ideal, but in true William Floyd fashion, our community came together despite the circumstances.”
The district has set up drop-off and pickup procedures to aid parents in the higher-than-normal traffic during the starting hours of the school day. The district is making space available for First Student to conduct their certification process, background checks, drug tests, etc., over the next few days to help expedite the process.
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