2007-05-24 / Front Page

School bus company gets another three-year contract

By Donna K. Drago

First Student bus company, of Providence, was awarded the three-year contract to provide transportation to Jamestown students until June 30, 2010.

The company, the current incumbent, gave a price that was less than the amount budgeted in the spending plan to be finalized at the June 4 Financial Town Meeting.

First Student will charge the Jamestown district $189.38 per day per bus for the first year of the contract and rates go up to $196.01 for the second year and $202.87 for the third year. According to business manager Maria Alfred, special education buses are charged at a higher rate. She said the schools would pay $212.42 the first year, $219.85 in year two and $227.55 in the third year of the contract.

Alfred said that this year's rate for regular education buses is $182.10 per bus.

Alfred said that all field trips and sports transportation would be charged per trip based on a formula that combines driver time with mileage.

At the May 17 School Committee meeting, the panel voted 5-0 to give the contract to First Student.

Superintendent Robert Power said he recommended First Student for two reasons. "The cost," was under budget, he said. "And they have proposed new buses," Power added.

"It's a good thing," Power told the school panel.

John Brown of First Student bus responded to questions about the company's efforts to provide cleaner-burning fuels while transporting students. Brown said that some of the older buses have been retrofitted with emission control devices that are "environmentally friendly and offer the best result." He added that the company is also using low-sulfur diesel fuel. The new buses that the company proposed for next year, are also more energy efficient than the older ones, Brown said.

In other business, the School Committee:

+ Discussed the final round of clarifications on the two bids for the food service contract to begin in September. Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser said the school and the vendors "were much closer," after several rounds of emails and they hoped to vote on the vendor at the June 7 meeting.

Kaiser said that they were asking the vendors if it was possible, given the requirements for healthy lunch offerings, to provide the lunches at a cheaper price.

+ Heard the first reading of the Policy on Reporting Communicable, Environmental and Occupational Disease, which details how and when the school nurse will report any outbreaks to the state Department of Health. The policy also outlines how and when the school nurse will alert parents and teachers when an epidemic is present.

+ Learned from Principal Kathy Almanzor that Thursday, May 24 is "Island Treasures," Day. This is a day when local residents and businesses share their expertise with Lawn Avenue school students. Two workshop sessions were scheduled for the day, and students were able to choose which "treasures," they wanted to learn from.

Among the offerings were a talk on the geology of Jamestown, by former science teacher Jim Sammons; a discussion of using wind power to create energy, by William W. Smith III; a discussion on raising honeybees, by School Committee member and beekeeper Julie Kallfelz, and a talk about being an EMT by Nancy Beye, David Bento and Prim Bullock, all members of the Jamestown Emergency Medical Services.

+ Voted unanimously to approve the agreement with Pathways, to house an autism program for older students at the Lawn Avenue School.

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