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Brandon privatizing busing—bad idea

May 19, 2010 - Dear Editor,

Even if we are broke we can't afford to make this move (busing privatization).

Here are some reasons why:

1.) We have a program in place with drivers, maintenance crews, training programs, and do not make a profit. A private company will have to have all we have and make a profit after paying the same overhead we pay.

2.) We would have to create a board to oversee the safety, proper training, and proper maintenance of vehicles and personnel used to transport our children.

3.) If compliance and regulations are not met, we would have no busing in place until we find another company that conforms to the proper safety, training and maintenance required to keep our children safe. Or, we re-initiate our own bussing program again.

4.) Our dirt roads would have to be better maintained than they are currently or face challenges in the future from any company under contract to safely transport our children to and from school. Cost for transportation of bands, sports teams and other extra-curricular events and competitions would bankrupt us in overtime, as some require drivers as late as 10-11p.m.

5.) If unable to reach a future contract agreement with a transport company, we would then have no transportation and would have to buy new buses, hire and train and certify new drivers all over again. And that depends on if we can find enough parents willing to again give up their time and possible current part time jobs to participate yet again in another change of plans by the community.

6.) A good price (teaser price) may be found for the first year or two with a private company. Yet anyone with any business experience knows the next contract negotiation will not be good, as fuel costs, maintenance cost, wages, will all be cited as reasons for needed increases in the cost charged for transportation. And, AH yes, the profit margin. Shareholders will not idly sit by while profits are low, so we will pay extra costs even if wages, maintenance and training are not a factor.

If a private company can provide transportation and make a profit for less cost than we are paying to do it ourselves, then we are not doing it right, we do not have the right person running the program! Shoving the program off to a private company is NOT the answer. Trimming cost, running the program as cost-effectively as possible is the answer. Doing that will bring our cost to what a private company's costs are. What we trim in cost and what we would have paid to meet a private company's profit margin is a much better savings to our school system than this ill-considered idea.

Robert Therrien

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