The Board of Education is postponing the next pupil transportation contract award for a second time.
The decision was announced following an hour-long executive session that commenced at the start of Monday’s regular meeting, when the board was scheduled to vote between Missouri-based Apple Bus and current contract holder First Student.
Board member Liz Downing called for the executive session, citing the content “may have an adverse effect on the finances of the borough. This session is held to discuss the transportation contract.”
The student transportation services are set to begin at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, and what will mostly likely be a 10-year agreement.
At a worksession Monday, Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said within the past few years the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District participated in meetings with the other “Big 5” school districts, which include the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, the Anchorage School District and the Juneau School District, and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to discuss what it would take to make providing services in Alaska more appealing to companies from the Lower 48. He said offering 10-year contracts was some of the criteria busing companies would desire, which offers ample time to properly set up facilities and purchase vehicles, he said.
Only two contenders were ultimately vetted for the new contract.
According to the board memo, Apple Bus came in with the most desirable offer with proposed daily rates of $558.23 per regular education bus per day, and $740.49 per special education bus per day. The rates are 1 percent higher than what the school district is paying now.
First Student’s rates were not far off, coming in at $564.31 per regular education bus per day, and $748.56 per special education bus per day, according to the memo.
“There is a significant cost difference each year, and the cumulative difference means that Apple Bus Company will provide the services for $976,994.11 less than First Student over the life of the contract,” according to the memo.
An appeal, which applicants can request once a Request For Proposals process is complete, is ongoing. An award will not occur until the appeal is resolved.
The decision is scheduled for August’s regularly scheduled meeting, but may be made at a special meeting prior to that date, said school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff in a previous Clarion interview.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.