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Outsourcing school busing to be determined at RISD board meeting tonight

ROCKWALL – The outsourcing of Rockwall ISD’s transportation and custodial services in order to save millions of dollars will be determined by the RISD Board of Trustees at their regular monthly meeting tonight at 5 pm at the school district’s Administration Building, 1050 Williams St.

The public is invited to attend and make comments.

At the Board’s May 9 work session, RISD Chief Financial Officer Mike Singleton recommended the Trstees approve a five-year contract for transportation with Durham School Services in order to save $500,000 annually and $2.5 million over five years.

Greg Carver, executive director of facilities, planning and construction for the school district, recommended to board members May 9 that they outsource custodial services to Service Solutions (SSC) in order to save $650,000 annually.

If the Board approves the contracts, they will both begin July 1, 2011.

Under contract terms, RISD will still own the school buses and purchase the fuel. The buses will still read “Rockwall ISD” on their sides. Maintenance will be performed by Durham, which will also manage daily operations and work together with the school district to approve a local manager.

Durham serves 350 school districts in 30 states, including 30 school districts in Texas, including Crowley, Joshua, Keller, Lewisville, McKinney, Northwest and Weatherford.

SSC will provide management, vehicles for management, all custodial labor at existing wages, background checks, supplies and equipment, and no modifications unless agreed by RISD. The contract will be negotiated annually and call for a one-year agreement with four automatic yearly renewals.

SSC serves more than 60 school districts across the U.S, including 19 in Texas, including Denton, Fairfield, Montgomery, Needville, Paris and Wharton.

According to Durham, current employees will receive first consideration for available positions. SSC says all current custodial staff will be offered employment at the current hourly wage.

At the May 9 Board work session, Singleton explained how he decided upon Durham, but did not share the details about how the savings will be generated.

He said he began studying the outsourcing idea 18 months ago with the intent to improve operating efficiencies and improve the quality RISD’s transportation services. After visiting with several transportation providers to research the benefits, he issued a request for proposals and a committee then interviewed prospective bus companies.

He then narrowed his search to two prospects, based upon pricing, employee training, service culture, available resources and references, and decided to recommend Durham.

Besides saving money, Singleton told the Board that he wanted to improve the quality of student transportation and raise the level of service.

“We have very good people down there doing some very good work,” he said. “I feel a certain amount of loyalty to them, a lot of loyalty to them because they’re good employees and so, I went into this with some trepidation, but going into it looking, trying to find ways that we could improve things.”

“If we were going to do something concerning outsourcing, I wanted to be sure we improved the quality of student transportation within the district.”

“I think there’s room for improvement as we’ve grown, as the district has had more routes, locations are different, new people in our employment, more kids and it will continue that over the next few years.

“I wanted to make sure that we continue to give good quality service to our students. I wanted to make sure we had good personnel, as good as we have right now and that they made sure that safety is a priority whenever we have a child on that bus, whether it’s going home, on a field trip, athletics, whatever the case may be. I wanted to make sure that that child was safe.”

For info, call RISD Administration at 972-771-0605.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

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2 Responses for “Outsourcing school busing to be determined at RISD board meeting tonight”

  1. eddie says:

    the drivers were screwed out out of all sick days and state days,there pay frozen.thanks for that mike singleton and jeff bailey.the drivers were also under paid for years.if singleton recognizes that improvements needed to be made in transportation,then why did`nt he do it??

  2. RAW says:

    Well I guess it’s no secret how this vote turned out. It’s sad to hear Singelton say that the kids will be better off by this decision. I would like to thank the drivers for caring for our children as well as they have. They have been under paid and apparently from Singeltons comments under appreciated as well. I am sure the school board and Singelton will probably also vote to screw these drivers out of any sick pay or state days they have acquired. It breaks my heart that in Rockwall, Texas money won out over our Children. I think as many drivers as there are you should be able to help out source Dr. Loftis and the rest of the school board on election day. It’s about our kids not our money.

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