Meridian School District considers outsourcing busing

broberts@idahostatesman.comMarch 20, 2014 

Meridian School District hopes it can solve a chronic shortage of bus drivers and restore midday kindergarten busing by finding a company that would take over the district-run transportation program.

Since 2008, Meridian Schools has trimmed 200 bus routes and 1,400 stops, which has cut bus driving time to about 4 1/2 hours a day for most drivers, said Eric Exline, district spokesman. The reduction has created a shortage of about 30 drivers per day and often leads to transportation supervisors getting behind the wheel to take over routes.

Meridian hopes a bus company will make changes without increasing costs, Exline said.

The system transports 12,000 students annually.

Since cutting midday kindergarten busing, the district estimates that 150 students who could be in kindergarten aren't attending.

Meridian's transportation budget is about $10 million a year. It has 275 employees and about 225 buses.

A request for proposal from companies is expected to go out in mid-April. The board will evaluate proposals before making a final decision.

Both Boise and Nampa outsource their busing.

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