Last fall, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Niskayuna, and Scotia-Glenville school districts formalized a long-standing practice to provide shared student transportation to out-of-district locations, and agreed to continue to study possibilities for greater efficiencies and cost sharing down the road.
Part of the impetus for sharing transportation services was the passage of a state law requiring each school district to establish a “Government Efficiency Plan” this past school year.
The success of the shared transportation plan and the savings yielded from improved efficiency has resulted in a contract renewal, as well as the inclusion of Mohonasen Central School District into the plan.
On Tuesday, June 23 at its regular meeting, the BH-BL board approved the shared transportation contract for the 2015-16 school year.
The new contract will be similar to the current contact where the the districts have agreed to share transportation to out-of-district locations, including special education placements, parochial schools, and the Albany campus of the BOCES Career & Technical Education school. Doing this eliminates the repetition of neighboring districts performing the same bus runs with partially filled buses and results in an overall reduction of transportation costs (maintenance, vehicle wear and tear, fuel, depreciation, etc.).
Additionally, the involved districts will continue to explore further efficiencies and cost saving measures such as cooperative driver and mechanic training and certification, shared bus inspection and maintenance facilities and other service opportunities such as sharing the cost of items like fuel, tires and parts, vehicle maintenance, and other overhead fees.
Although some out-of-district students will ride on a bus that may not be operated by BH-BL, parents should continue to direct all questions and concerns to the BH-BL transportation department at 399-9141, ext. 83525. Each district has developed communications and incident response protocols.
“There is no question that we will continue to provide a high-quality, safe and professional transportation service for our students,” says BH-BL Superintendent Patrick McGrath. “We have great drivers and a great department. This agreement will allow us to keep this strong department while realizing considerable savings for our taxpayers.”