No outsourcing of bus routes this year

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Local bus drivers will be happy to hear this news: The West Milford Board of Education voted to reject all bids for student transportation services for the 2014-2015 school year at its meeting Tuesday night.

The resolution stated, "The Board of Education has decided to abandon the initiative at this time.”

Bus drivers have been actively seeking support from parents to try to save their jobs. Potentially, six to seven bus routes in the Paradise Knoll School area were being looked into for possible outsourcing as a means to save money in the wake of needed replacement of buses. The school board's Budget and Finance Committee recommended looking into outsourcing as an option to possibly save some taxpayer dollars, but to the chagrin of bus drivers and some parents whose children would be on the alternative buses. Drivers' jobs would have been cut based upon seniority in the district-wide transportation system, meaning that the last ones hired would have been unemployed first, regardless of their current routes.

After careful consideration of the bid information, the Board voted to scrap the idea at this time and stick with the in-house buses and drivers. Bus replacements are included in the 2014-2015 proposed budget, which will be presented for public hearing on at the April 29 board of education meeting.

- Patricia Keller

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