The Meriden Board of Education votes to extend the school busing contract for an additional five years
MERIDEN – The Board of Education voted this week to extend the current school bus contract with New Britain Transportation for an additional five years.
Without an agreement, the current contract with the vendor expires on June 30, 2023. The new agreement would retain New Britain Transportation as the district’s provider of both regular education and special education businesses until the conclusion of the 2027-2028 school year. .
Michael Grove, the school’s assistant superintendent of technology and operations, explained to the board Tuesday night that district officials and purchasing officials were discussing whether to bid out the transportation contract or renew it with New Britain.
Park state and district officials said they agreed if New Britain Transportation presented what it called an “aggressive proposal” to “extend the largest financial deal in the district for five years and not bid out.”
Figures shared by district officials showed the transportation cost per bus for the current academic year was $340 per bus. Total transportation funding appropriated in the current budget is more than $7.055 million. By comparison, the school’s transportation budget for the 2021-2022 school year was approximately $6.845 million.
The figures show that the annual cost of providing transportation, regardless of food costs, will be 3.56% in the first year of the extension, 3.69% in the second year, 3.79% in the third, 3.89% in the fourth and 3.99% in the fifth.
Officials recommended extending the contract given that the inflation rate has hovered around 7% for two years, and that other similarly negotiated contracts are increasing at a rate within the 4% range.
Figures district officials shared with the budget board a week ago contrasted student transportation costs in Meriden with those costs in other school districts, including Wallingford, Cheshire, North Haven, New Britain, Middletown and North Haven.
The proposed annual cost per bus appears to be close to or below the cost in other regions. For example, in 2023-2024, the first year of the extension, the cost per bus listed in Meriden will be $359.63 per bus. By comparison, the cost per bus in Wallingford in the same year will be $368.75 with the region’s new Specialty Transportation vendor. In Chester, whose provider is DATTCO, the cost per bus will be $356.
At the latest source in Wallingford, officials opted to terminate that district’s contract with its now-former business provider, Durham Services, after continued issues with users either arriving late to pick up students or failing to arrive at all. Schools officials have been granted a waiver by the Wallingford Town Council to enter into a new five-year contract with Specialty Transportation, according to previous Record-Journal reports.
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