WALL, N.J., April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Student Transportation of America (STA), the nation's third largest and most progressive school transportation company, today announced Regional School District 17 (RSD 17) which serves the towns of Haddam and Killingworth, Connecticut is the latest North American school district to share in the STA $100 Million Education Stimulus Plan. STA designed the plan to provide school districts across America with much-needed capital to invest back into education when they contract their school bus operations to STA.
"Our stimulus plan has allowed RSD 17 to avoid teacher layoffs and maintain valuable educational programs in its budget proposal for the next school year. This is exactly what we designed our plan to accomplish," said Denis Gallagher, STA chairman and CEO. "The current budget climate for many school districts that own and operate their own fleets is desperate and we will continue to offer our stimulus plan funds for school districts that partner with us."
STA representatives are attending the National School Boards Conference in Chicago this weekend, where they will share their stimulus plan message with many of the 10,000 school districts that still own and operate their own school bus fleets. "We have the cash on hand and the ability to move quickly," said Gallagher.
STA will present an initial payment of $830,000 to RSD 17 next week for the purchase of its existing transportation fleet. Immediately after the contract signing, the company placed a $770,000 order for new state-of-the-art buses to be manufactured over the summer to replace the school district's older vehicles. School officials estimate that contracting with STA will save local taxpayers $2.4 million over five years. STA will begin serving RSD 17 this month.
"To completely take over an operation that was run in-house in less than a month is a challenge to most companies; however our operations team has the experience and industry knowledge to successfully do this on very short notice," said Michael J. Kennedy, chief operating officer of STA's Atlantic Region. "We will offer positions to all current RSD 17 drivers and add permanent drivers for those bus routes that were being serviced by temporary personnel. We look forward to working with all the existing drivers and current staff members who work for the school district."
STA recently completed a conversion with a similar stimulus cash payment for taxpayers in Williamsport, Pa. School officials there say contracting with STA will save taxpayers $3.5 million over five years. The company purchased the district's fleet for $1 million, invested an additional $1 million in new vehicles, and hired 90 percent of the district's existing drivers and staff.
"Hiring STA to manage our transportation operations will address three major challenges that have faced our school district for some time," said Gary Mala, superintendent of schools for Regional School District 17. "STA will ensure that we have an adequate number of drivers to complement our existing driver force to keep our buses running on consistent routes and schedules. Hopefully in the immediate future, parents will have seen the last of our all-too-frequent route changes and delays. The revenue we receive from STA's purchase of our bus fleet will give us the much-needed funds to contain costs associated with the operation of our school system. It also frees up capital funds previously earmarked for bus maintenance and purchases, so the district can move forward with many of the capital improvements to our school facilities that we have had to delay.
"Using STA to provide safe, efficient, cost-effective transportation service to our community is exactly what we needed," Mala added. "The amount of time we spent trying to manage school transportation issues was taking away from the primary purpose of why we're here, which is to educate our children."
For more information on the STA Education Stimulus Plan, individuals as well as local and state officials can email Student Transportation of America at [email protected], call toll-free 1-888-942-2250 to arrange to speak with an STA representative, or visit the company website at www.rideSTA.com.
About Student Transportation
Founded in 1997, Student Transportation Inc. is North America's third-largest and fastest-growing provider of school bus transportation services, operating more than 6,300 vehicles. Student Transportation's family of local companies delivers safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation solutions to school districts throughout the U.S. and Canada. Services are delivered by drivers, dispatchers, maintenance technicians, terminal managers and others who are caring members of their local communities. For more information, please visit www.rideSTA.com.
National School Boards Association's (NSBA) 2010 Annual Conference
Student Transportation is proud to be exhibiting at this year's 70th NSBA conference on April 10-12 at the McCormick Place, West Hall in Chicago, IL. With more than 1,500 school district representatives in attendance, NSBA 2010 is the premier conference for school district representatives from all over the country. In our booth #757, we will show the quality of service and level of commitment we can bring to communities who choose to contract with us and tell our story of how Student Transportation's services can benefit cash-strapped districts through our $100,000,000 Education Stimulus Plan.
SOURCE Student Transportation of America