Monday, May 25, 2015

Ledgemont Schools to Outsource K-12 Busing
August 22, 2013 by John Karlovec | No Comments

Ledgemont Schools students won't have to worry about how they will get to school this year after Board of Education members voted unanimously…

Ledgemont Schools students won’t have to worry about how they will get to school this year after Board of Education members voted unanimously Saturday morning to outsource the district’s transportation department effective Sept. 3.

The board voted 4-0, without discussion, to approve a contract with Youngstown-based Community Bus Service Inc., a move that will ensure busing services for all students in grades kindergarten through 12th.

The new contract will save the financially-beleagured district $40,000 to $50,000 annually, Superintendent Julie Ramos said following the meeting.

Board President Cathy Hadley-Samia and board members Rick Loveland, Jim Cozens and Carol Geisman approved the contract “for reasons of economy and efficiency,” according to the motion. Board member Joe Lobdell was not present.

The action came following a 16-minute executive session during which the reduction in force of personnel was discussed.

“Busing has been a real hot topic in our community and I’m glad we could restore this,” Loveland said. “I didn’t want to cut it when we had to cut it back in the … first of the year, but I’m glad we could restore it. As of the first day of school, busing will be restored K-12, full busing.”

In January, busing was cut back to the state minimum requirements after failure of an operating levy on the November 2012 ballot, eliminating trans-portation for students in grades kindergarten through eighth who live within two miles of their schools and for all students in grades 9-12.

After parents repeatedly cited safety concerns for months and threatened to open enroll their children in other districts, the board looked at all options before deciding to outsource busing services, Loveland said Monday.

On June 19, the board notified the Ledgemont Association of Support Staff (LASS) of its intent to outsource transportation services. Shortly thereafter, it issued a request for proposals for the provision of transportation services for K-12 busing.

Community Bus Service was the only company to provide a proposal, Ramos said.

“We all know that transportation is very important to our families and our students, and this allows us to restore full busing, K through 12, at a savings to the district,” Hadley-Samia said.

She also thanked Ramos, the attorneys and bus drivers for their efforts in negotiating the outsourcing of transportion.

“I know it was very difficult,” Hadley-Samia said. “I’d just like to say thank you to all of them, because I know it was difficult.”

The outsourcing of the transportation department was made possible because LASS agreed to abolish certain non-teaching positions for financial reasons.

Effective Sept. 3, the positions of bus driver, bus aide, bus mechanic, mechanic aide, part-time bus mechanic, substiture bus driver, transportation coordinator and contract drivers are eliminated.

The board’s decision affects 12 people, according to the meeting’s agenda.

About a dozen people attended Saturday’s meeting, including several LASS members. There were no public comments before or after any of the board’s votes.

In other action, the board hired a substitute educational aide, two assistant football coaches and a technology coordinator for the upcoming school year, which began on Tuesday.

Following the meeting, Ramos also said the district will offer before and after school child care for working parents.

Loveland said Monday the first-year program is self-funded and does not cost the district any money.

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