With the last year nearing on the five-year contract with Durham School Services, the USD 446 Board of Education, with input from school administration, made the decision in August to formally end the contract to provide the district's transportation services. Those services will be taken on by the district, according to USD 446 Superintendent Rusty Arnold, and will take effect Aug. 1, 2019.
"Many reasons were part of this decision," stated Arnold. "For example, the district will save funds which can now be spent in the classroom instead of for transportation. It is an effort to keep our tax dollars in Kansas as Durham is a California-based company. It will allow our district to better serve the transportation needs of our students and it will allow for additional uses of our buses for educational purposes such as field trips."
Arnold said the district can saves thousands by taking over the transportation services. "The district is expecting to save approximately $100,000 or more immediately and that amount is expect to grow to more than $250,000 once a new transportation facility is paid fro within seven to eight years," he explained.
Arnold said parents can expect improved services as the district makes every effort to meet the needs of the students. "We will always keep 'Kids First' in our decision making process," he noted.
He added the district intends to hire the local Durham drivers as "they are members of our district and experienced drivers." Arnold said each year transportation schedules vary as the needs of students change. "We want to continue to serve the needs of our students with a minimum of change," he said.
The location of the bus barn facility is yet to be determined. "The need to build or remodel an existing facility remains unknown until the location is secured," Arnold noted.
Arnold said the district will be adding 30 employees to the payroll. "I believe that will primarily be former Durham employees," he said.
Durham School Services website states they "provide safe and reliable transportation to students across the United States, transporting more then 1,000,000 students daily." The history of Durham can be traced to 1917 when a three-bus company started in the San Gabriel Valley of California, first specializing in special education transport. The company operates more than 16,300 school buses serving more than 400 school districts in 31 states. }