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Spending $2.2M to save $140K annually for Manteca USD
pic special-ed-buses
At the end of the year, the Manteca Unified School District will discontinue services with the First Student transportation company servicing special need students. For budget reasons, the district will go in-house for such services. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Coming soon to the Manteca Unified School District: 20 buses designed specifically to service special needs students.

But in these budget crunching times, the district will need to dip into the transportation money from the general fund.

According to Superintendent Jason Messer, the initial cost for these purchases of buses will eventually amount to in-house savings in the long haul.

“We’ve been paying a couple of millions to (contract) with First Student,” he said at last Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The district is scheduled to discontinue services with First Student.

The move is part of the Level II cuts as recommended by the budget reduction committee. The net savings to the general fund is expected to be about $140,000 per year, but the start-up cost would be absorbed in the current financial plan.

The board unanimously approved the fleet – included are 17 brand new International 25-passenger handicapped-equipped vehicles ($102,081 each) and three 2009 International 22-passenger seaters ($105,504 per bus) – scheduled to be purchased from Creative Bus Sales Inc. in Chino. The plan also consists of piggybacking on an existing contract originally awarded to Natomas Unified.

All told, the cost including sales tax tallies up to nearly $2.2 million. But, as indicated in the adopted budget, Messer said the plan would be to finance the balance over a seven-year term.

The district has secured the financing for the buses via Municipal Service Group of Littleton, CO. at an interest rate of 4.41 percent.

Trustee Nancy Teicheira believes the move will also save jobs. “It will keep our bus drivers employed,” she said.