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Macomb School District could buy its own buses

Rich Egger

A few Macomb school board members are dissatisfied with the district’s buses. So, they’re considering whether to head down a different path.

Currently, Durham School Services owns the buses and handles everything related to getting students to and from school.

But the school board’s transportation committee thinks the district might benefit from owning the buses itself.

Superintendent Patrick Twomey said committee members believe the community does not feel much pride in the district’s transportation system.

“The buses don’t have Macomb schools’ name on them. They’re older. A lot of them are rusted and have got sloppy looking paint on them,” he said.

Dr. Twomey said by owning the buses, the district could ensure it has shiny, new, air-conditioned vehicles.

He said Durham would continue to manage all other aspects transportation.

“Providing the drivers, providing the mechanics, providing the dispatchers, providing the manager at the bus barn,” he said. “So, their role really won’t change, other than the piece of the contract that they charge us for providing the buses.”

Twomey has researched the issue and plans to provide information to school board members at their December meeting. They will then decide whether to make a change.

“I don’t want to leave the perception that we’re canceling our contract with Durham because that’s certainly not our intent” Twomey said

“But when you own your own buses, for the first time you have the option then to run your own transportation as well. And that’s where in totality there could be a break-even or a small savings for the district to do that. You could have new buses and perhaps with no more money.”

The district would need to order new buses by January to have them in time for the new school year.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.