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Feb. 9 – With MV/Reliant’s notice to end contract, SCCPSS set for Weds. vote on running own bus system

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

February 9, 2016 - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is working with its current transportation provider (MV/Reliant) to review the requirements for transitioning to a District-Run Pupil Transportation model.

The topic will be discussed at tomorrow’s School Board meeting when Dr. Thomas Lockamy,  Superintendent, will present a plan that he estimates will save the system $3 to $4 million a year by running its own bus system.

“The district is committed to ensuring high quality transportation services and will ensure a seamless transition. Transportation would not be impacted this school year,” according to a statement by SCCPSS today.

In an interview today, Lockamy explained that while the SCCPSS contract with MV/Reliant does not have a clause for the firm to end its two-year contract early, “We are in agreement to work toward ending their contract in a professional manner.” 

“The new configuration would phase out the use of an outside service provider and place the full control of pupil transportation with the School District,” as of May, according to the Administration.  

Lockamy estimates that they would have to add three to four employees in their HR Dept. to work with more than 400 bus drivers, as well as other new employees.  But all of these costs will still allow a substantial savings.  "It could be as much as $6 million, but $3 to $4 million for sure," he added.  

SCCPSS is well positioned to make a seamless transition from an external provider to a District-run service, according to the Administattion, as the District currently owns 442 school buses for full coverage of 370 school bus routes.  SCCPSS also maintains three school bus parking lot locations, maintenance facilities, and is in the process of implementing a new routing software system.  

The consideration for transition to an in-house solution would maintain the current pupil transportation provided (MV/Reliant) throughout the remainder of the 2015 school year, even though MV/Reliant with a transition in late May.  

“The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is committed to the ongoing improvement of pupil transportation services with the number one goal of delivering a reliable, on-time, and safe pupil transportation program,” the statement concludes.

In April 2015, the School Board ended its contract with its former transportation provider, and continues to hold back over $1 million in funds under issues regarding that contract are resolved. 

When MV/Reliant took over, the company informed Lockamy and SCCPSS immediately about were termed “deplorable” conditions of the buses that had not been maintained.  

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