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Are Mamaroneck School Buses on the Way Out?

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – The Mamaroneck School District is looking into fully outsourcing its transportation services, which would mean big savings but the loss of district jobs, according to Superintendent Robert Shaps.

Mamaroneck schools currently transport 690 students, the majority of which attend private or parochial schools outside of the district. Mamaroneck already contracts out some bus routes to Ardsley Bus Company and is in the second year of a five-year contract with them.

The district would save an estimated $875,000 in the first year of fully outsourcing and within 10 years, would save a total of $10.1 million, according to a study done by Management Partnership Services, Inc . The savings are based on the district's current contract with Ardsley Bus Company.

In the 2010-2011 school year, total transportation expenditures cost $3.9 million, $2.3 million of which was for personnel-related costs and $1.6 million for contracted transportation. The district employs 27 full-time and part-time bus drivers.

"Outsourcing will result in the loss of district jobs," said Meryl Rubenstein, assistant superintendent of business operations for the Mamaroneck School District.

Shaps added that many of the part-time bus drivers had retired from their field before working for the Mamaroneck School District.

In addition to outsourcing, Shaps and Rubenstein presented another cost saving measure to the board. In the spring of 2011, the district conducted an internal study to measure the feasibility of shifting routes for private and parochial students to public transportation using a voucher system. Shaps talked about a phase-in strategy for implementing such a system to gauge its effectiveness. The results have yet to determine this measure's total cost savings.

"It's clear we're going to have to make some very hard decisions if we're going to get under the tax cap," said Stanley Futterman, a first-year member on the board of education.

The board plans to hold a public forum to discuss the proposed transportation changes and convene a committee that will develop a final recommendation for the board of education.

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