Mohonasen Central School District this fall joins with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Niskayuna, and Scotia-Glenville school districts in a partnership to share bus routes to select out-of-district locations and to study greater transportation efficiencies and cost sharing down the road.
Part of the impetus for sharing transportation services was last year’s passage of a state law requiring municipalities and school districts to establish “Government Efficiency Plans.” The transportation partnership was the basis for the efficiency plan the four districts filed this spring, as required by the law.
The Mohonasen Board of Education gave formal approval to the shared service agreements needed to support the plan at its July 7 meeting.
Because the districts are clustered relatively close geographically in comparison with the out-of-district locations, sharing the routes eliminates the repetition of neighboring districts making similar trips with partially filled buses. This results in an overall reduction of transportation costs, including for fuel, maintenance, vehicle wear and tear, and depreciation.
The districts have identified a target of sharing 12 runs in 2015-16 and increasing to 16 by the following year.
The districts are also continuing to explore additional savings and efficiencies in areas such as joint driver and mechanic training and certification, shared bus inspection and maintenance facilities, sharing spare buses, and cooperative purchasing and storage of items like fuel, tires and parts.
“Mohonasen is committed to providing students with safe and reliable transportation,” said Mohonasen Superintendent Kathleen Spring. “This partnership will do that and also benefit our taxpayers by cutting transportation costs. We are excited about future possibilities as we continue to work together with our neighboring districts.”
The districts are awaiting a determination on the efficiency plan from the state Division of Budget, which is tasked with reviewing the plans submitted by municipalities and school districts.
Although the shared service approach means that some students attending out-of-district placements will ride on a bus that may not be operated by Mohonasen, parents should continue to direct all questions to the district’s Transportation Department at 356-8260. The districts have developed communications and incident response protocols as part of their partnership.